India's lopsided economic growth worrisome: WEF

Stark differences between urban and rural India persist, says study

“The strong economic growth experienced by India in the last 20 years has neither bridged the economic and social divide between urban and rural India nor significantly reduced extreme poverty,” WEF said in a study.

India still faces important development challenges in making growth more inclusive, WEF economist Irene Mia, who conducted the study, told newspersons here.

The study, which analysed how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can boost India’s competitiveness, reveals that a significant impediment to the promotion of inclusive growth is “dismal quality and underdevelopment” of national infrastructure, including energy, transport and telecommunication networks. “ICT could play an important enabling role for boosting inclusive growth by improving all citizens’ access to markets as well as to basic services in education, health and financial services,” Mia said explaining the study.

The WEF study has come on the eve of a three-day India Economic Summit (IES) beginning here on November 14. The summit, which is being organised by WEF and the Confederation of Indian Industry, will focus on how decision-makers from government to business can implement policies to remove barriers to growth and increase social inclusion.

Prescribing policy to promote sustainable inclusive growth, the WEF study interestingly suggested that the regulatory environment for doing business must be improved by further cutting red tape and inefficiencies as well as enhancing public governance. “Such improvements would result in a more favourable and predictable regulatory and market environment for both foreign and domestic investment,” the study notes.

Highlighting the role of IT in India’s economic development, the study says with its large talent pool of English-speaking professionals, extensive and expanding domestic market and the increasingly central place occupied by ICT in the government’s strategy, India is well positioned to leverage ICT moving forward.

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