Davos | India has shown to the world that it can grow irrespective of the government in power, but there is an urgent need to ensure all-inclusive economic expansion by addressing the twin problem of unemployment and farmers’ distress, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said on Wednesday.
Addressing a session on emerging market outlook here at the WEF Annual Meeting, Nath said India is heading towards becoming the world’s second-largest economy but that is happening because of a lot many factors.
“India grows irrespective of the government policies and is driven by its tremendously aspirational young generation,” the Chief Minister of one of India’s largest state Madhya Pradesh said.
He, however, cautioned that there is huge unemployment and that coupled with issues faced by farmers are the biggest problems faced by India.
Any policy decision should focus on these issues to unlock India’s huge growth potential, Nath who had held various ministerial positions at the central government said.
On importance of sustainable economic growth and why it is not a political issue in India, Nath said, it was indeed a political issue in the country and India was certainly addressing issues like the environment.
On inequality, he said the figures released by Oxfam are indeed distressing and a lot needs to be done for this disparity to be removed.
According to the Oxfam study, in the year 2018, the top one per cent of the country’s richest got richer by 39 per cent as against just 3 per cent increase in wealth for the bottom half of the population.
Oxfam further said, 13.6 crore Indians, who make up the poorest 10 per cent of the country, continue to remain in debt since 2004.
Nath said there is a need to look at the “distributed justice” in a new way.
“There is a global disorder in all facets, whether it’s economy or politics and all of this needs to be looked at in a holistic manner. Unless that is done, this disparity will further increase,” he said.
Problems in India and for Indian farmers are different from what is the problem of inequality in the US and therefore the solutions would need to be different, he said.
Nath noted that it’s very important that rule based trading systems remain in place for the global trade to happen.
“Nowadays bilateral trade deals are happening a lot, raising questions about multilateral frameworks,” said Nath who also served as a union commerce minister in the past.
He added that India has always supported rules-based trade systems and it will fully support it. But one must understand that free trade should also mean fair trade.
Hong Kong SAR Government CEO Carrie Lam said the emerging economies also need to ensure that their economic growth is inclusive. She said her country spends almost 60 per cent of GDP on social services.
On sovereign issues raised by India on China’s Belt and Road Initiative and how it can impact the economic international cooperation, Lam said such issues need a “constructive dialogue”.
Turkey’s Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said the humanitarian aspects of economic growth is very important.