India Inc on Sunday acknowledged that economic reforms were lagging and growth had slowed down but said solutions should be found within and not as prescribed by outsiders.
Reacting to U.S. President Barack Obama’s assertion that the government must carry out “difficult” economic reforms, India Inc said the country remained a strong investment destination with strong long-term growth prospects.
Mr. Obama, in an interview to PTI in Washington, said “American firms say it is still too hard to invest in India. In too many sectors, such as retail, India limits or prohibits the foreign investment that is necessary to create jobs in both our countries, and which is necessary for India to continue to grow.”
Mr. Obama said, “There appears to be a growing consensus in India that the time may be right for another wave of economic reforms to make India more competitive in the global economy.”
Acknowledging that the nation lagged in reforms in sectors such as retail, aviation, defence and insurance, India Inc said Mr. Obama or any other person could not be “dictating to Indian government or Indian policymakers.”
“The U.S. has its own problems and India has its own. Our government will take decision as per our own compulsions and requirements. However, we do need reforms but Mr. Obama or any other person cannot be dictating to the Indian government or Indian policymakers,” Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat said.
The U.S also had lot of “limitations” like the recent restrictions imposed on BPOs. “But it is their decision. Similarly, decisions taken by our policymakers should not be questioned because our economy is still doing much better than most of the developed countries,” he said.
CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said, “India was resilient and was still growing at 6 per cent during the time of global economic uncertainties.”
“However, there are some issues which need to be addressed. We still need reforms in sectors like retail, aviation, defence and insurance. Our understanding is that we should be seeing reforms over a period of time,” he added.
FICCI Secretary General Rajiv Kumar said India’s long-term growth remained strong and intact.
“There are number of positive structural features that will ensure that India continues to attract investments and maintain the rate of GDP growth. However, it is evident that some significant reform measures have to be taken urgently. We are convinced that investor sentiment will become positive if these measures are implemented,” Mr. Kumar said.
“Recent pronouncements by the government have given a degree of reassurances in this regard.”
The CII said investor sentiment towards India was quite strong but “certain developments” like retrospective amendments to the IT Act and General Anti-Avoidance Rules had affected the mood.
“However, we know that the government would address these issues,” Mr. Banerjee said.