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Govt urged to speed up reforms drive

New Delhi, Nov 24: India Inc’s leadership today urged Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to push ahead with faster economic reforms in order to achieve the targeted 8 per cent GDP growth.

The opening session of the 18th India Economic Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry today saw business leaders echo the need for India to be more market driven and globally competitive in its outlook if it aims to meet its growth target.

One of India Inc’s most vocal leaders, Bajaj Auto managing director Rahul Bajaj said, “We know we need second generation reforms, the right to hire and fire, better infrastructure, and for all this we need a broad political consensus. But we are too slow to evolve this consensus and as a result, the gap between India and other world economies is increasing.”

Speaking on the occasion World Economic Forum president Klaus Schwab said India needs to realise its areas of challenges. He stressed that “free markets, democracy, transparency, global interaction and entrepreneurship are the only way to boost economic progress and social development”.

Added Lord Charles Powell Bayswater, co-chair at the India Economic Summit and a former advisor to UK’s reformist Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: “If there has to be the magic 8 per cent growth in the 15 years, the Prime Minister will have to take bold reform measures as there is no second chance.”

Both Bajaj and N. R. Narayanamurthy, chief mentor, Infosys Technologies, uniformly said India had to be aggressive and internationally competitive to give its customers a better value for products, invite foreign direct investment, encourage investment in technology and enhance the country’s overall brand equity. “We need to build better models of risk mitigation. There is still a premium for enhancing productivity. It is a challenge in itself to integrate people from multi-cultural corporations with different aspirations to work on a common goal system,” Murthy said.

“India is not paying adequate attention to the education system. We should realise that 10 years from now we will have to satisfy the needs of professionals from all sectors,” he added.

India’s foreign currency rating appears to be improving, international credit rating agency Moody’s said today, cautioning any upgrade would take into account the fiscal deficit and modes of its financing, adds PTI. “We will review India’s foreign currency ratings for an upgrade. These look to be improving. But having said that, I must add that problems here include public sector deficits and how these are being financed,” president and chief executive officer of Moody’s Corporation John Rutherford Jr said at the plenary session of the summit today.

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