Finance secretary Arvind Mayaram has said Indian efforts to push growth should receive support from the G20 even if it does not open its markets for more foreign investment. Addressing the G20 deputies meeting in Australia over the weekend, the secretary said “countries which achieve high growth rates through activities not necessarily within the thematic areas of competition, labour, trade and investment” run the risk of being labelled as non-cooperative by multilateral organisations and the international community.
Mayaram’s comments are significant as he made them in the course of preparing the first Budget of the NDA government in a few weeks. The government’s stand on foreign investment in key sectors like insurance and retail will be tracked on how India will welcome overseas capital flows for the next few years.
“International organisations lay primacy on reform measures in (these) four areas alone, rather than on achieving growth output. So countries that cannot for political reasons put down policy actions identified for them (globally), come out poorly even if they achieve relatively stronger growth,” he said in his intervention in the session on growth strategies at the meeting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley are expected to meet foreign investors from July through September in Japan and the US and these issues are likely to be a prominent part of those meeting.
Mayaram said India’s upcoming Budget will push growth and deepen reforms in the economy. “We will be strengthening our growth strategies as per priorities of the new government. I am confident that this will be growth-oriented and would deepen the reform process to put the economy on a high growth path, which is in line with the G20 objective of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.”
He, however, declined to go into their details saying the “reform measures will be presented by the finance minister in the forthcoming Budget”.