After serving as secretary-general at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for 17 years, Amit Mitra passed on the baton to Rajiv Kumar. Kumar, who was earlier director and chief executive of the Indian Council for Research on International Relations, told HT that it would be a tall task to fit into Mitra’s shoes. Excerpts.
In the wake of high inflation, the finance ministry and the RBI have said that India’s growth rate would be lower than the 9% Budget projection. What is your opinion?
TheRBI in its annual monetary policy has already stated that the GDP growth rate would be much lower than 9%. I would say it is likely to be a little below 8% for the current fiscal year. But even that is not bad. Inflationary pressures do exist and interest rates are now going up in a bid to tackle high prices. Why do we allow the inflationary situation to build up in the first place? Why can’t we emulate China in this sphere and ease supply side much before it hits the economy? Before problem comes up, it should be addressed.
Now that you would be at the helm of affairs at FICCI, what would be your focus?
My focus would be to continue with all our policies and facilitate a conducive environment for investment. Investment procedures should be simplified to attract more foreign investment. We would like to work with state governments to create a uniform integrated investment climate within the country.
Reforms are yet to be carried out in various sectors. What would be your role?
Reforms are crucial to getting India and Bharat closer to each other and generating employment. We need to create 1.2 crore jobs annually. Sectors such as tourism, media and entertainment, manufacturing and agriculture would be critical in generating employment.
What would be your role in sorting out land acquisition issues?
Urbanisation and manufacturing both would need fresh patches of land. The archaic law needs to be changed at the earliest. FICCI has suggested adoption of the Haryana model for land acquisition. Around 70% of the land must be acquired at the existing market rate. Employment for local people, who may be displaced, must also be looked into.