India needs education, skill development for 10% growth:PM

While delivering the Khazanah Global Lecture here, Singh also invited Malaysian corporate to participate in the development of Indian infrastructure, which would need investment of about USD 1 trillion during the 12th Plan period (2012-17).

"A young population is an asset only if it is educated, skilled and finds productive employment. If this were to happen, our objective of realising India's potential to grow at 10 per cent or more per annum for substantial period of time can become a reality," he said.

The average age of an Indian by 2020 would be 29 years as compared to 29 years in case of China and 48 for Japan. Having grown by over 9 per cent for three consecutive years, the economic growth rate slipped to 6.7 per cent during 2008-09, mainly on account of the impact of the global financial crisis. The growth rate, however, picked up during 2009-10 to 7.4 per cent.

Regarding the current fiscal, Singh said, "we expect 8.5 per cent growth." Recalling steps taken by India to set up more IITs and other institutes, he said, "both higher education and the IT sectors are promising areas for India-Malaysia cooperation."

Pointing out that Indian financial sector, including banking and capital markets, are strong, the Prime Minister said, "this had helped support a boom in domestic investment. Domestic investment is complemented by strong Foreign Direct Investment flows which are welcome."

Singh further said that like the East Asian nations, India too is having high savings and investment rates. "India now saves and invests well over 30 per cent," he added. Admitting that infrastructure was a "major constraint", Singh said, "we are determined to overcome it. In the 11th Plan that ends in 2011-12, we had targeted investment in
infrastructure of USD 500 billion. We hope to step this up to one trillion US dollars in the 12th Plan.

"Malaysia has well known strengths in building infrastructure and we welcome greater Malaysian participation in this sector," Singh said. India is in the process of setting up infrastructure investment funds and would seek international funding.

"There are big plans afoot in India to set up special investment funds that can be used to finance long-gestation infrastructure projects. We hope to attract Indian and international funding into these projects," Singh added.

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