London, Mar 16 (PTI) Bullish on India’s growth prospects and reform agenda, ace banker Deepak Parekh has said the country is showing to the world that it is truly open for business while a major achievement of the current government has been to weed out large-scale corruption at the Centre.
Lauding the steps taken by the government for putting in place an e-tendering process for all procurements, Parekh said this transparent system with no human intervention has meant “that the days of inter-changing of envelopes at the time of bidding have finally been put to rest”.
“One hopes that this government keeps up its unblemished record, but more importantly this now needs to percolate down to state levels as well,” the eminent industry leader said.
Delivering a lecture here at the LSE Students’ Union India Forum over the weekend, Parekh said India’s macroeconomic parameters have never been more robust and it remains amongst the fastest growing major economies.
“One can quibble in decimal points on how much demonetisation could shave off GDP growth, but the bottom line is that India will still achieve a growth rate in the range of 6.6-7 per cent in the current financial year,” he said.
On India being a ‘superpower in the making’, he said if one looks at superpowers from an economic lens, which seems imminently logical, several economic forecasters believe that by 2030, US, China and India will be the superpowers simply by virtue of being the three largest economies.
“Two years of good monsoons has helped agriculture growth and has kept food inflation in check. Lower commodity prices have helped India given that the country imports over 80 per cent of its crude oil requirements.
“The fiscal and current account deficits have been within comfortable levels, the rupee has been amongst the most stable emerging market currencies and foreign exchange reserves at USD 360 billion is sufficient to cover 12 months of imports.
“To put this in perspective, in the 1991 crisis, India’s forex reserves had depleted to 12 days of imports and we were on the brink of default. This is why I reiterate that India is in a very advantageous position today,” he said.
Parekh, chairman of financial services conglomerate HDFC, said the last financial crisis that India faced was in 1991.
“So for a quarter of a century, India has remained fairly stable. We must also remember that India bypassed the South East Asian crisis of 1997 and the global financial crisis of 2008. Yet, this by itself is not an achievement of any sort.” Parekh said 2014 was a landmark year as after a period of 30 years, India got a majority government in the lower house.
Noting that the reform agenda requires political consensus, he said, “One of the most significant achievements of the present government has been its ability to weed out large scale corruption at the Centre.” MORE
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.