WEF India Economic Summit 2019: More Reforms In Offing To Bring Back High Growth, Says NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant
Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer of NITI Aayog in New Delhi. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

WEF India Economic Summit 2019: More Reforms In Offing To Bring Back High Growth, Says NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

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The government will keep the reform momentum going with more such announcements in the future to bring back the economy on a higher growth track, though issues related with productivity efficiency persist, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

India's growth was at about 8.1 percent in the last quarter of 2017-18 and fell to 5 percent in the June quarter of 2019-20, Kant said at the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit-CII event.

Both the RBI and the government have taken a series of measures to take India back to a high growth trajectory. The RBI has dropped the repo rate by about 110 basis points to 5.4 percent. But there is a limitation to monetary policy and therefore the government stepped in and took a series of measures.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog

The government announced a series of economic boosters including capitalisation of public sector banks, merging some of them, package for exports, and bringing down corporate tax rate, he said.

"I think many more structural reforms are in the offing. The government has pushed for public sector disinvestment. I can tell you we have pushed for asset monetisation in a very big way. Our belief is that instead of green-field projects, investors must come into brown-field projects," Kant said.

The step to bring down the corporate tax rate was to align it with global standards, he said, adding the government must be a facilitator, a catalyst and should keep itself out of business.

"Our belief is that instead of green-field projects, investors must come into brown-field projects. And the government will put many of these assets out in the marketplace for many of you people to invest," he said.

He noted that agriculture, mining, coal are among the sectors where the government is pushing for mega reforms and people will see many of these reforms unfolding in the coming months.

"The key really is to work not merely on monetary policy but also bring in rapid structural reforms in economy so that we create the pace for long-term growth and take India to a rate of growth of 9-10 percent per annum for a three-decade period which will enable us to lift a vast segment of our people above the poverty line," he said.

What the government is pushing for is no longer a “political hot potato”, Kant said.

"We are pushing for public sector disinvestment in a very radical way. NITI Aayog has recommended over 55 public sector companies for disinvestment and I can tell you that the government itself has approved over 26 of them for disinvestment. You will have soon a very very vast number of public sector companies getting privatised," Kant said further.

Admitting that the government is good at some things, but also very poor at operations and maintenance, he said this is the reason it is pushing that roads, transmission lines, airports, and a number of other tasks be managed and operated by private sector enterprises.

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