CEO of the National Institute for the Transformation of India (NITI or Niti Aayog) Amitabh Kant said today that India”s power was truly represented by its sustained economic growth, which is a key to its future and critical for security reasons.
Delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of ”[email protected]”, he said, as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, radical reforms were ushered in across a range of sectors. He asserted that India had had the sharpest recovery among the major economies.
Economic growth is expected to rebound about 5.5% after (-)3.5% in 2020 which has been the worst since post-World War, Kant said, adding that pushing India towards a high growth trajectory was a key challenge.
The private sector needs to be brought in at the heart of India”s economic growth, Kant said.
“The economies of east and southeast Asia have transformed themselves within a generation. India’s economy has witnessed a substantial transformation over 30 years since 1991 with an average annual growth of 6.5%,” the NITI Aayog CEO said.
“Sustained economic growth is key to India”s future. Investment and sustained economic growth are critical for security reasons,” Kant said.
Kant further said COVID-19 will likely reverse the trend of poverty alleviation.
“Global debt is at unprecedented levels. What was at about 300% is now at around 370%. Global trade decline is estimated at 7% in 2020. China is the only major economy in the world to see positive GDP growth in 2020. Its share in global GDP will rise even further,” the NITI CEO said.
In the last two decades, China has gained tremendous market power in many key sectors like steel, aluminium and pharmaceuticals, Kant said.
“Size and scale need to be brought to the manufacturing sector for India to penetrate global markets. Self-reliant India is not about protectionism. It is about penetrating global markets. There is a need to understand that sunrise sectors will lead India”s growth in the coming decades and it is important to start now,” the Niti Aayog head said.
Earlier, former home secretary R Mehrishi said in the face of the recent China confrontation, “we used three elements — armed forces, trade measures and diplomacy — to face the challenge posed to us. All these elements require the backing of a strong economy.”
In the era of technology, one has to be better and smartly equipped. Technological competency will depend on the budget. India spends a little over 2% on its defence that translates into Rs 5 lakh crore whereas China spends 1.3% of its GDP which translates into Rs 15 lakh crore, he said.
“At a time when the enemy is often not seen, the only way to really compete with a country like China would be to have as much or more equipment,” Mehrishi added.
Throughout the day numerous sessions with eminent speakers were held. The closing address was delivered by former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Madhvendra Singh.