7-8 p.c. economic growth achievable - Jalan

MUMBAI, JULY 12. Economic growth at 7 to 8 per cent is achievable, the Reserve Bank of India Governor, Dr. Bimal Jalan, said here today.

``There is certainly a possibility for such growth rate," Dr. Jalan said in a key note address at an international symposium on development policies in the new millennium, organised by the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research. Next 10-20 years of planning would be crucial to put India on a fast development track, he said adding in the last three years, the country had gone through many hurdles such as economic sanctions, Asian crises and hike in oil prices.

``India has managed to overcome these obstacles in a successful manner and the most the positive feature is the resurgence of confidence in ourselves," the RBI Governor said.

On the macro-economic front, he said, the situation was much better today then what it was some 20-25 years ago. ``While the country was meeting demand in the food and agriculture sector, information technology has added a new dimension to the whole economic scenario," he pointed out.

Dr. Jalan felt that lack of proper physical and social infrastructure, extreme poverty, inadequate education and continuous fiscal deficit, both at the Centre and State level could pose a problem for the economic growth in the new millennium.

``All these problems are existing where Government is a primary provider of such public services," the Governor said adding that these services were suffering in delivery and not monetarily.

Former Union Finance Minister and Rajya Sabha member, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said a blind pursuit of western consumer oriented economy would not help India to overcome the basic problem of poverty, lack of primary education among others. ``Markets are important, but everything cannot be done through them, instead capital markets can be used as a medium to deal with such basic issues", he said.