Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said India had recovered from the global financial meltdown and the economy was in far better shape than it was a year ago to clock high growth.
"India has emerged from an unprecedented global slowdown faster than any other nation. The advance estimates indicate a 7.2 per cent growth in 2009-10. Exports are also recovering with an 11.5 per cent growth in January 2010," said Mukherjee.
At the same time, the finance minister listed some challenges.
"The first challenge is to quickly revert to the high GDP growth path of 9 per cent and then find the means to cross the 'double-digit' growth barrier.
"We also need to harness economic growth to consolidate the recent gains in making development more inclusive," he said, addressing the 59th annual convocation of Panjab University here.
He said one factor that could hold India back in realising its potential is the public delivery mechanism.
"There have been many initiatives in this regard; some of them have been effective in reforming the way the government works in those areas but still there is a long way to go," he said.
Mukherjee told the graduating students that the India growth story was going through an "exciting phase". "Market is opening up and the job situation has also improved considerably with campus recruitments in full swing with very attractive pay packages. The opportunities are again wide open."
Emphasising skill development, Mukherjee said it was a key factor for the economic and social growth of the country.
"We have to create skill-sets all over the country, including the remote areas. The Prime Minister's council on National Skill Development has laid down the core governing principles and it has a mission of creating 50 crore skilled people by 2022," he said.
On education, Mukherjee said India's access to higher education was still below the international standards.
"Our endeavour is to provide expanded access to higher education by the end of 11th five year plan by setting up 30 new central universities. This initiative along with establishment of 370 new colleges would address the regional imbalances and provide a platform for inclusive education in the country," he said.