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Saturday, April 19, 2014  

India needs to reboot economy, says WEF
GURGAON India needs to “reboot” its economy by reducing endemic corruption and slashing red tape to get back on a high growth path and reduce poverty, delegates said at a high-profile economic forum on Wednesday.

The call at the India World Economic Forum came as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led government struggles to revive the economy it forecasts could grow by as little 5.5 per cent this year — the lowest rate in a decade.

India’s economy needs to expand by double-digits to significantly reduce widespread poverty in the country of 1.2 billion, economists say. “We need 10 per cent growth — there’s tremendous economic inequality in our country,” said Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj, opening the two-day conference in Gurgaon, a satellite city of the national capital.

“We need to reboot (the economy),” he said.

But business figures warned that efforts to revive the economy will fail unless India reins in corruption and stifling bureaucracy and opens up further to foreign investment.

The chief executive of the world’s biggest food company Nestle, Paul Bulcke, said so many “regulations and complexities kill entrepreneurial spirit”.

Delegates also said the government needed to seriously tackle graft which has been one of the biggest political issues in India over the last few years, sparking popular protest movements.

“Government officials should function from glass houses,” said Vinod Rai, India’s auditor general whose office has been relentlessly pursuing the government over corruption allegations involving telecom and coal-mining deals.

Agencies
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