Giving credit to an aspirational society for forcing politicians to support reforms, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said Indian economy has defied global slowdown and geo-political tensions and is now poised to seize the opportunity to grow faster.
He, however, regretted that while the developed world has been able to control population surge, India has been missing on its population stabilisation target.
Noting that India has missed the bus because of its conventional thinking when it came to industrial and technology revolutions, Jaitley said Indians have now become aspirational, which is putting pressure on politicians to support reforms initiatives.
He said the whole world is in a slowdown mode in which if a country is growing by 1.5-2 per cent, it has a sense of satisfaction that it is not in a negative zone.
"India, of course, is defying that trend. While we are defying that trend, for the first time in history, we are coming out much better than the rest of the world, having missed so many historical opportunities," he said at the convocation ceremony of the O P Jindal Global University.
Globally, Jaitley said, countries are resorting to desperate measures like negative or negligible interest rates, competitive devaluation of currencies. While some are facing job losses, other parts of the world are affected by geo-political crises – refugees and terrorism.
"India because of conventional thinking has occasionally lost the opportunity, we missed the bus when it came to the industrial revolution – the Americans and Europeans grabbed the opportunity. When the technology revolution took place, we missed the bus," he said.
According to the finance minister, there is a strong public opinion in India that the country needs to grow.
"Both two landmark legislations back to back — the bankruptcy and GST — have been passed unanimously and one of the factors why these laws have passed unanimously is that there is a very strong public opinion which has been inflicted upon politicians that we don’t want now to go slow and miss this opportunity," he explained.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had last month cut global growth forecast for 2017 by 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 per cent. It projected India to grow at 7.4 per cent in 2016 and 2017.
Jaitley highlighted services sector as the main strength of the economy while India tries to increase its manufacturing output.