Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday expressed disappointment over the slow progress in financial sector reforms but was hopeful of some forward movement in the politically contentious issue in the UPA government's remaining tenure.
“Financial sector reforms are lagging behind. We need to push through financial sector reforms in banking, insurance and pension and unfinished agenda in the capital markets. But I still think that we have 16 months and we might be able to make some progress,” Chidambaram said at the Indian Economic Summit (IES) organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and World Economic Forum (WEF) here.
Financial sector reforms are at the heart of the economy he said. Reform measures, including the proposal to hike foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance sector, have hit a roadblock with the Left opposing any such move.
Chidambaram felt that sustaining more than 8 per cent growth has been one of the high points of the present government, but poor implementation of several key government programmes remain a matter of concern.
“Achieving a growth of over 8 per cent and repeating it for the fifth year would make any government proud. But we have brought the country into discussing inclusive growth,” the Finance Minister said.
“We still depend upon the tried and failed delivery system. Although the government has considerably increased the outlays on these programmes, this has not yet translated into better outcomes,” he said.
The finance minister also said that the government has been able to shift the focus of debate to inclusive growth. “What we have managed to say is 'Don't debunk growth'. Growth is imperative. Today, everyone talks about both faster and inclusive growth. This philosophy of my government is something we can truly proud off,” he said.
Chidambaram said though India and China currently drive majority of global growth, the centre of economic power has not yet shifted from the developed to the developing world.
“But what we can still say is developing countries will compete over the next 10-15 years,” he added. The finance minister said that India could miss some of millennium development goals (MDGs) of the United Nations.