India to continue on growth path to root out poverty: Jaitley

Melbourne, April 1 (IANS) Urging Australian pension funds to invest in India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said here the country will continue on its current path of development towards “eliminating the curse of poverty”.

“We do believe that 7.5 percent rate can be improved upon and the government is concentrating on several areas, especially rural India. Its only then India can eliminate the curse of poverty,” he said, addressing a meeting here of heads of Australian pension funds.

“People in India are benefiting from the whole process of liberalisation,” the finance minister said.

The meeting was attended by Australian Minister for Small Businesses and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, Future Fund chairman Peter Costello, Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri and members of a delegation led by industry chamber Ficci.

In this connection, Jaitley assured his audience of rationalisation of India’s tax system, saying India offered a huge amount of opportunity also in manufacturing and infrastructure.

On the penultimate day of his four-day Australia visit on Thursday, Jaitley estimated that India’s GDP growth rate for the current fiscal would touch 7.6 percent which, he said, was much less than the country’s potential.

“As the current financial year ends today, we hope to finish this year at 7.6 percent growth rate which is much less than our potential. We are hopeful that we will do better than this next year,” Jaitley said, delivering the K.R. Narayanan Oration series lecture in the Australian capital Canberra.

“Our current account deficit is well under control; inflation rate is under control. In last 16 months, the wholesale price index has been negative. Consumer index has been in the range of 4-5 percent. Interest rates are slowly coming down,” the finance minister said.

“We had to reform our systems. There is a considerable amount of ease which has come in and we have moved up in global rankings,” Jaitley added.

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