Despite the macro-level growth achieved by the country during the two decades of the reforms period, there have been “five disappointments” in the economic sector, which the government should strive to correct, according to S Mahendra Dev, Director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.
Presenting the India Development Report during his ‘millennium lecture’ at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation here on Friday, Dev said the document brought out every two years by IGIDR covered the social, economic and environmental security scenario in the country.
Quoting extensive statistics, he said the growth rate had started showing a downward trend even before the current global economic crisis. “It is 6-7 per cent instead of 8-9 per cent,” he pointed out.
While the decline in investment was an important factor, he cited ‘five disappointments’ as major hurdles in the path of India’s reforms. Topping the list is slow infrastructure development, which is a constraint not only to growth but also to inclusive development. “We are power starved and our per capita consumption is one-third that of China and 1/20 that of the US,” he said.
Besides, the 12th Five Year Plan envisaged greater participation in the development of the infrastructure sector, the investment expected to be around 47 per cent. Since infrastructure involves the development of roads, bridges, telecom and power, among other things, private participation cannot be expected to be much. Hence, instead of relying on the private sector the government should intensify its efforts in infrastructure building, Dev stressed.
Slow labour-intensive manufacturing, low education and skill development, slow social sector in human development and poor governance are the other drawbacks that the government must address to achieve inclusive growth and economic development.