The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, on Friday played down the row over Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu's comments on the slow pace of reforms, saying reforms were always needed to be done, and the government was focussing on bringing the economy back on track.
“We are in the process of putting together the 12th Plan, and that will lay out a whole five-year programme. But you never finish all the reforms that are needed to be done,” he said.
“There are always reforms that need to be done, but that does not mean that you can't get the economy back on [a] high-growth path and that is what we should be focussing on at the moment,” Mr. Ahluwalia said, asked to comment on Mr. Basu's remarks that major reforms would not be easy till the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In Washington to attend the Annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, Mr. Basu was addressing the concerns expressed by the U.S. corporates over the Indian government's reluctance to initiate the next phase of reforms.
At a meeting at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Mr. Basu said major reforms were unlikely to happen before the next Lok Sabha elections. “You would see a rush of important reforms” after 2015 and India would be one of the “fastest growing” economies of the world.
Mr. Ahluwalia said the government should inspire confidence in investors that there would be an investor-friendly environment, and to address some of the many impediments, especially in the infrastructure sector.
“These things are holding up the movement forward of some very large projects, and I believe that if we can do that and these people see that this economy is getting back to something like seven-and-a-half per cent or so in this fiscal.