In Tokyo, PM talks of hard decisions to boost economy
The government was committed to taking hard decisions in the interest of the country and he was hopeful that the Indian economy would grow at 6% in the current financial year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tokyo on Tuesday.
Terming last year's 5% growth as a temporary slowdown, Singh said economic fundamentals were intact to take the country to a growth path of 8%.
Making a strong pitch for reforms, he said, "Our people have tasted the benefits of rapid growth and they will not settle for less. I want to assure you that our government is committed to taking hard and difficult decisions in the long-term interest of our economy," Singh told a gathering of the captains of industry of both the countries.
With India in election year, the government, battling charges of corruption, is banking on good economic performance for poll success.
As his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, who returned as prime minister in December after five years, gets ready to "recharge" his country's economy, Singh said India and the world had a strong economic and strategic interest in Japan's success.
Though Indian governments are known to shy away from pushing reforms in the fag-end of the terms, Singh said the UPA had liberalised foreign investments in areas such as multi-brand retail, power exchanges and civil aviation "and further rationalisation and simplification is being planned".
"We expect that growth in 2013-14 will be much better than in the previous year, hopefully around 6% or so. We will do even better in 2014-15," Singh said.
Wooing Japanese investors, Singh said his government had fast-tracked large infrastructure projects to ensure that regulatory clearances did not cause delays. India accounts for only 4% of Japanese investment in Asia but is the largest recipient of Tokyo's overseas assistance abroad.
Singh said India was willing to co-finance a joint feasibility study for a high-speed railway corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
"This is an ambitious project and we will need to take a holistic view, based on our infrastructure needs... and the availability of financial resources," he said.
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