India can achieve over 8 per cent growth rate in a sustained manner if it takes steps to revive investments and make exports competitive, said ADB economist Abhijit Sen Gupta.
Efforts will also have to be made to streamline agriculture marketing and improve supply chain, he said, adding that this is the area where there is scope for more reforms. “Right now, the investment and exports drivers are really not firing. Once those two engines fire up India can sustainably grow at 8 per cent,” Sen Gupta said.
In its Asian Development Outlook, 2018, the Asian Development Bank expects India’s growth to pick up to 7.3 per cent in current financial year and accelerate further to 7.6 per cent in the next financial year.
Referring to exports, Sen Gupta said India is still a “marginal player” in global trade and there is a lot of potential to increase exports.
As Chinese exports are becoming expensive because of rising wages, India can reap benefits by improving competitiveness. “We need to improve our ‘ease of doing business’ and state of infra to benefit from trade and be better integrated into the value chain,” Sen Gupta said.
On whether India can achieve double-digit growth, he said: “it is not totally unfeasible. But, I don’t know if you can do that over a longer-term period given the state of infrastructure and regulatory policies. Lot more reforms would probably be needed for that”.
Referring to investments, he said credit to infrastructure and industry is picking up, which is a positive sign. “But clearly a lot more needs to be done if the investment has to pick up,” he added.