New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Visiting Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Friday said India needs to show urgency to realise its unfulfilled potential which he said was the largest in the world.
He also reminded India that the pace had to be stepped up vis-a-vis the reforms agenda that still remains largely unfinished.
Delivering the first ‘Transforming India’ lecture, Shanmugaratnam said low exports from India is a “glaring area of shortfall”.
The Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister holds degrees in Economics from the London School of Economics and Cambridge University, apart from a degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.
“But the reform agenda is still largely unfinished and pace of change has to be stepped up.
“You have to focus on exports to the world; that’s a glaring area of shortfall in the Indian economy. India has 18 per cent of the world’s population but only two per cent exports,” Shanmugaratnam, who is of Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry, said.
“India needs to go for a deeper, strategic interaction with the global economy… India too needs urgency because there is a race against demography, and a race against intelligent machines,” he said.
Shanmugaratnam said India needed to act soon to take advantage of new technology and stressed that increasing its share in global exports is necessary.
He said a growth rate of eight to 10 per cent will get India only 70 per cent of China’s per capita Gross Domestic Product in 20 years.
“Eight to 10 per cent growth is not a luxury. It will nearly get India to about 70 per cent income of China in 20 years,” he said.
The Singapore Deputy Prime Minister said India and China had the same per capita income in the mid-1970s, but now India had almost two and a half times lower per capita income compared with the communist country.
“India can achieve it. There is no reason India cannot erase the deficits of the past. Frankly, India has the largest unfulfilled potential for any country I know in the world and it needs urgency to achieve its potential,” he said.
He welcomed the reforms and underlined that India is leading in some areas, pointing towards the Aadhaar initiative which he called the “world’s first digital identification infrastructure”.
“‘Make in India’ initiative has to be about making in India for the world,” he added.