Washington: Kaushik Basu, who was till recently, the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in the Finance Ministry, has expressed the hope that India would achieve 9 percent growth rate in "not too distant future".
"I do believe such a time will come in the not too distant future. The Eurozone economies will face huge turbulence certainly up to 2014. So the real big growth cannot come till then. But hopefully soon after that...", he said, when asked how soon India would return to 9 percent growth rate.
Basu, in an interview to The Wall Street Journal, ranked India's economic performance in the past three years as "B-plus" on a scale of A to Z.
Former Cornell University professor, Basu had left the government after completing his term as Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in the Finance Ministry in August 2012. He was yesterday appointed as the Chief Economist of the World Bank and is schedule to take over from October 1.
India has been growing nine percent plus before the global financial meltdown of 2008. The growth rate in 2011-12 slipped to nine-year low of 6.5 percent.
Recalling his appointment as CEA, Basu said he was hesitant to take over the job of an advisor, but would not mind taking up similar assignments again.
"I never sought an advisory job (a Chief Economic Advisor) and even hesitated when I was first asked", he said.
However, he added, "but it is a kind of experience which no amount of reading can even remotely provide. That inside view is very exciting. And, as for doing it again, I suppose the answer is yes".
Basu was replaced by Raghuram G. Rajan, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who took over as CEA last month.
On his advice to Rajan, Basu said, "don’t waste your energy on the small issues and matters; in fact, be prepared to lose. But dig in your heels quietly but firmly on a few matters which are important".
As regards regrets, Basu said, "that I could not do more."
On his proudest moment, he said, "there was no such moment but I think I got the ears of hard-nosed politicians who normally treat professional policy advice dismissively, as if their commonsense is enough to deal with all problems.
"I think I got some of them to appreciate that just like designing a bridge using commonsense and no engineering skills is not advisable, designing economic policy by guess work and popular vote is not the wisest thing to do."
When asked what he would miss about the North Block, Basu said, "the high energy of the place. The energy is not always being tapped right and not being channelized properly, but there is a sense of mission, which made the place very exciting and therein must lie hope for India."
According to Wall Street, although the questions were e-mailed to Basu before he was named Chief Economist of the World Bank, the answers arrived after the announcement.
First Published: Thursday, September 06, 2012, 21:11