India remains firmly on a growth path of 8.5 per cent to 9 per cent in the medium to long- run, the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, said, but added some words of caution.
“We need to be alert and respond to the emerging challenges and concerns in a timely manner, as we make efforts to achieve our potential as a young fast-growing nation,” he said at a function to celebrate 25 years of India-Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnership here on Monday.
While keeping the ambitious target of $1-trillion investment for infrastructure during the 12th Plan in mind, the Minister requested the bank to step up the momentum of collaboration. He also sought the bank's assistance in developing clean and alternative sources of energy and technologies to enhance energy-efficiency measures.
Mr Mukherjee expressed concern over food security and volatility in prices. “We recognise that increase in agricultural production on a sustainable basis is the only long-term solution to the problems of availability as well as high and fluctuating food and commodity prices,”, he added.
Terming ADB as ‘Knowledge Bank', he requested it to cover new ground through study and research on how Asian countries can help harness skills and innovations for sustaining growth. He urged the bank to find how social protection schemes could be better designed and inter-woven into an inclusive development agenda.
Taking cue from the economic unrest in Europe and the US, Mr Mukherjee said Asia was not in autopilot mode and would require carefully steering and direction. He reminded policy makers about the onerous responsibility of shaping the path to make the Asian Century a reality. The opportunities are immense and the challenges formidable, he added.
ADB on Asia
The President of ADB, Mr Haruhiko Kuroda, appreciated Asia's share of global GDP (gross domestic product) that had reached 35 per cent, but said the region was still home to a majority of the world's poor.
Praising India for its achievement, he said sustaining high growth was not enough, the country would also have to ensure that growth was more inclusive.