“I don’t claim that it is possible in this global environment to come any where close to double-digit growth. It’s extremely difficult, it’s practically impossible to do that,” he said at the India Today Conclave here.
Given various variables, the finance minister said, India can at least aim high and improve. “For example, if you carry on some of the pending reforms and if you concentrate on some of these areas like manufacturing, investment in agriculture etc… if you can improve health of the banking system so as it supports growth, your private sector becomes more oriented to investment.
“If you are not able to go anywhere close to double-digit growth, the prospect of greater economic activity and improving upon your present rate is always there… the idea is to improve upon our growth rate even in the adverse global environment,” he said.
Terming the current 7-7.5 per cent growth “impressive” compared to the global growth, Jaitley said, “compared to our own inherent ability, one always feel that India can do much better.”
If India has to increase growth by 2 per cent from the present capacity, he said, a combination of several factors would be required including a supportive global environment and increasing share of manufacturing in economy.
“Domestically, the maximum potential to grow in terms of sector is agriculture… there is huge potential for growth… we can do much better in manufacturing if we develop an expertise for low-cost manufacturing considering the wage bill in China is going up and of course you need reform temperament in the country,” he said.
The constituency that support reforms today is much larger today, he said, adding, it is much bigger than which one which obstructs reforms.
“Therefore, slowly we are moving in the right direction and if all the policy changes, taxation and otherwise do come about in India, you have better monsoon, step up investment in agriculture and private sector… and the supportive global environment, it is possible for India to get a significant amount of growth,” he added.