OECD: India needs more inclusive growth

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NEW DELHI: India’s rapid economic growth has lifted 140 million people out of poverty in the past decade but many of its people still lack access to elecricity and toilets, the OECD said Tuesday.

GDP per capita has risen by more than five percent per year since the mid-1990s and reforms introduced since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014 have “brought a new growth impetus and improved the outlook”, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report.

But “growth has not been sufficiently inclusive on a number of dimensions, as reflected in a still high poverty rate”, the Paris-based group said in its 142-page country survey.

It added that spending on health care amounted to barely one percent of gross domestic product.


India has been the fastest-growing major economy for much of Modi’s premiership and although the government has lowered its forecast since its decision in November to pull high-value bank notes from circulation, it is still expected to expand 7.1 percent in 2016-17.

The OECD said reforms by successive governments, such as the implementation of inflation targets and a loosening of foreign direct investment (FDI) rules, had been major factors behind the growth.

“The pace of reform is quite remarkable,” said the report, adding that “about 140 million people have been taken out of poverty in less than 10 years”.

But, “there is no time for complacency and the main message today is that the reform momentum must be maintained so there can be more inclusive growth,” said OECD secretary-general Jose Angel Gurria at the report’s launch in Delhi.

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