Greater Noida: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the government is taking steps to make India a more attractive investment destination with a view to achieve over 8 percent economic growth in the 12th Five Year Plan.
"We are initiating measures to spur investment and to make India more attractive to investors both at home and abroad. We have taken steps to fast track major infrastructure projects," he said while inaugurating the 46th Annual General Meeting of the Asian Development Bank here.
Singh also assured the international audience, comprising Finance Ministers and central bank governors of several countries, that India is taking strong measures to achieve fiscal consolidation and high economic growth.
"India has set itself a target of over 8 percent annual growth for the Twelfth Five Year Plan, which runs from 2012 to 2017. This is the rate of growth that the country achieved over the past decade," he said.
In order to spur investment in mega projects, the government recently set up a Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) to accord approvals to projects of over Rs 1,000 crore, which were held up due to various regulatory nods.
Last year, the government unveiled a fiscal consolidation roadmap with an aim to bring fiscal deficit to the level of 3 percent of GDP by 2016-17.
Referring to steps to promote inclusive growth, Singh said the government has introduced legal entitlements to work, education and information from public authorities.
"We also plan to provide our people a legal entitlement to food at affordable cost. A legislation in this regard is before our Parliament," he said.
The Prime Minister said the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) programme will make it simpler for the beneficiaries to have access to benefits besides eliminating corruption and wastage in the public distribution system.
Pointing out that the level of lending the ADB can sustain is projected to come down, Singh suggested the Manila headquartered multilateral agency find innovative ways to channelise global savings for development of infrastructure projects in developing nations.
"...Expanding infrastructure financing and investment through the intermediation of the ADB could help lower the cost of financing long-term infrastructure projects. I hope the ADB can consider moving in this direction and propel growth in the region," the Prime Minister said.
Referring to India-ADB ties, he said both have a strong commitment to a common agenda in making the growth processes inclusive and sustainable.
"I sincerely believe that this is not just a social and political imperative, but also a sound economic underpinning for sustained long term growth," he added.
Singh further said the regional cooperation and integration among countries in Asia and the Pacific can play a critical role in accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and economic disparity.
He stressed on the importance of building cross-border infrastructure, eliminating trade and investment barriers, and cooperation including transfer of technology.
"India is a firm believer in the benefits of regional integration and is committed to promoting it. We stand committed to deep engagement with the countries of East and Southeast Asia," the Prime Minister said.
He pointed out that resurgence of Asia is part of a process where economic power has been shifting to emerging economies in recent years.
At Purchasing Power Parity, he said, emerging economies accounted for 80 percent of the world growth in 2012, with emerging Asia accounting for a majority of it and China and India accounting for 35 percent and 10 percent of world growth respectively.
In 2013 the IMF expects advanced economies to grow at only 1.2 percent while developing Asia is expected to grow more than five times faster at 7.1 percent.