'India's biggest challenge is GDP growth'

'India's biggest challenge is GDP growth'

The Indian economy's biggest challenge is to bring its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to 8 per cent, says Confederation of Indian Industry president Kris Gopalakrishnan who will be a speaker at the South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) 2013 to be held in Singapore on Nov 21 and 22.

The International Monetary Fund puts India's expected GDP growth for 2013 at 3.8 per cent, slower than the 5.1 per cent it grew at in 2012.

In an e-mail interview with tabla!, Mr Gopalakrishnan, who is also the co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Infosys, said that while signs of recovery in the Indian economy can be seen in robust agriculture growth, upturn in the manufacturing sector and a better investment sentiment, India still faces the tough task of controlling inflation, rationalising government finances and ameliorating the current account deficit.

Mr Gopalakrishnan said: "In recent months, the Indian government has taken strong measures to open up its Foreign Direct Investment regime, speed up project implementation, address the issue of land acquisition, and improve the business environment.

The tasks on the table include the institution of goods and services tax, power sector issues, streamlining of public-private partnerships in infrastructure and addressing administrative procedures, among others."

Mr Gopalakrishnan is one of the seven founders of Infosys, one of India's largest IT services companies. It is his view that the Indian IT sector will provide large-scale opportunities in the future with the government realising its future potential.

He said the Indian government is "beginning to encourage electronic manufacturing and technology research and development that will further facilitate the ecosystem for growth of new age Information Technology".

And added that the realisation of academia-industry partnership is more evident in this decade and it will boost next generation technology growth in India.

He said there is a need to develop more IT hubs in the country, as their concentration is restricted to seven to nine locations. "Information technology schools that have mushroomed all over the country in the last decade and provide available workforce in most regions. If it is coupled with encouraging ecosystems in varied locations then it can help come up with affordable solutions and services that may cater to the variety of local and domestic sectors, emerging markets and even the developed world," Mr Gopalakrishnan said.

He also stressed the importance of the Indian diaspora to the country's economy. He said: "The Indian diaspora has been a key source of stability for the economy due to its continued remittance, which have crossed US$70 billion. This is the highest remittance received by any country in the world."

He said the knowledge resources of the diaspora can further add to the economic potential of India if synced to local development needs. He will further highlight the need to leverage these linkages to spill over into economic cooperation during the diaspora convention where he will be a speaker at a session on Global Connections And Visions For A Region.

aaring; ankitav@sph.com.sg

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