'Global consensus needed for ensuring growth'

“If the government is allowed to do what it is expected to do and if we can get key legislation (in pension, banking and insurance sector) passed by Parliament, I am confident Indian economy has the strength to weather the storm,” Singh told journalists onboard Air India One while returning from New York to New Delhi.

India’s growth rate will not go below 7.5-8 per cent level even under worst circumstances, he claimed.

He pointed out that Indian economy had done well during the 2008 global recession and registered a GDP rate of 6.7 per cent which had later gone up to 8.5 per cent.

He said as the world economy was getting increasingly interdependent, troubles in “locomotive economies” like the United States and Europe are bound to have some impact on Indian economy too. But India had done fairly well so far and we could do better, if all parties get united and help the government do its task.

“The government is keen to work with all political parties to evolve a consensus on key legislation, including the ones for reform in the insurance, pension and banking sectors. Nothing should be done to weaken the government,” he said.

Help sought

He also appealed to opposition parties to help the government concentrate on minimising the impact of the global economic volatility.

“Food prices are by and large stable. What are not stable are the prices of the vegetables, fish and poultry products. This is caused by a demand-supply gap. This is not a failure of the government, rather a success, as people’s income levels have gone up and they want to buy more,” said Singh. Food inflation was a global phenomenon and even China recorded a 13 per cent rise in prices of eatables, recently.

Singh said that the government will take into account the views of the country’s farmers and traders before taking a decision on opening up retail sector for foreign direct investment.

Addressing the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Singh on Saturday had referred to the “negative dimensions” of  “globalisation and global interdependence.”

Asked if there was an evolution in the views of the “chief architect of liberalisation of Indian economy,” Singh said one has to take note of the changes in the world.

“We cannot remain static when there are fast-paced changes around the world. While globalisation had great potential to do good to people, it could also cause harm if not managed properly or misused by global power,” he added.

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