The topic given to me this morning is ‘Courage in uncertainty’. Well, I think we should have courage in the most certain times. I will just spend a couple of minutes talking about what’s happening generally and I am sure you heard other speakers yesterday and you will hear more this morning and this afternoon.
All of you know, exactly, where the art way in terms of our economy, where is India’s position, what needs to be done and I am sure you all are brimming the ideas on how best to fix the situation at hand. When I say ‘fixing it’, I say this with the sense of reality that today we are growing at between 4-5%, perhaps .5% +/-. But generally speaking, the last 18months have been a slower growth than expected. Again, the key word is ‘expected’. If the US economy grows at 1%, the base is so large that it’s a phenomenal growth for them. The European economies are struggling to get positive growth. However, when India grows at 8-8.5%, it’s expected to grow at 8-8.5%. The potential for the economy is perhaps more than that. Where does the word potential come from? It’s the expectations from the people of this country and the global community because we have the talent force; we have the engines, the capacities to absorb that kind of growth, the consumptive capacity, the productive capacity. So, when India grows at 4-5%, everybody, all the rating agencies, the World Bank, all the pink press, the entire world says it’s not good enough. Sure, not good enough. But what needs to be done to fix this growth of the GDP and the forward momentum, is what we have to take into account. The first thing we have done as a government from the last 6months or so, is to reduce the current account deficit. And I think the finance minister has done a great job in pulling back the current account deficit to the target that he set for us, as 4.8%. Also, I think, we have done a little bit better than the 4.8% target that we set out for ourselves. Continue reading