Singapore: Ratan Tata today said he expects India to re-establish its economic growth at 7 per cent plus rate in the next couple of years but it will not be able to achieve over 8 per cent it had prior to the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
The Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group said that the recent steps by the government have restored investors’ confidence in the country, but more needs to be done.
He noted that efforts to control inflation plus scams, and other issues, resulted in Indian economic growth slowing down to five or sub-five per cent.
“To many, it has been like a recession,” he added.
“I think we will re-establish at 7 plus per cent growth rate in couple of years driven by the fact that we have got pent up demand in the country.
“But it is not going to be as attractive as it has been in the past,” said Tata, who retired from the group last year, during a dialogue session with students at the Singapore Management University (SMU).
Responding to a question on recent economic boosting measures in the Indian Budget for 2013-14, he said: “One must ask is it enough or is too late. My own feeling is that some of the confidence in the Indian economy, perhaps amongst investors, is restored.
“But there is a lot more that needs to be done if India is to be moving back to the visibility and the attraction that it had some years ago.
“May be just moderate moves are not going to be enough to undo the damage that has been done over the last few years.”
The measures in the most recent budget has “are very moderate and perhaps, signs of moving into the right direction,” he told some 500 students, academics and business community at the dialogue session.
Tata recalled that India had enjoyed an almost a decade of considerable [economic] growth of 8 plus percentage and a very moderate inflation rate of over 4 per cent.
“In 2008-09, India stumbled,” he added, referring to the global economic crisis.
Tata pointed out that India’s inflation rate shot up to double-digit figures over a period of time due to rising energy and food costs, but the Reserves Bank of India’s followed on efforts to control inflation, resulted in increase in interest rates.
“We had about 13 interest rate increases in one year. And investment got held back, growth stumbled and a series of measures deprived India of the credibility that it had in term of investor confidence both from outside and inside,” said Tata.
“People started to wonder whether it was the time to make new investments or to establish new capacity or hold on,” he added.