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India Growing at 7%? Raghuram Rajan Expresses Doubt, Says Cloud Over GDP Data Needs to Cleared

The veteran economist and former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan also said that if he were the finance minister, his primary concerns at this point would be land acquisition, bank cleanup and policies to revive the agriculture sector.

News18.com

Updated:March 26, 2019, 3:04 PM IST
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India Growing at 7%? Raghuram Rajan Expresses Doubt, Says Cloud Over GDP Data Needs to Cleared
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New Delhi: Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday expressed doubts over the fact that India may be growing at 7 percent, adding that the current cloud over the GDP must be cleared by appointing respected economists to oversee data.

Reacting to the Congress’ mega promise of guaranteeing a minimum income support for India’s poor ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, he said an income transfer scheme is possible only if it is targeted at the very poor, since there have been various estimates on the exact number of poor in India, and the counts have been mired in controversy.

The veteran economist also said that if he were the finance minister, his primary concerns at this point would be land acquisition, bank cleanup and policies to revive the agriculture sector.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Rajan said, "I would certainly focus on short-term actions that could put a lot of projects which are currently languishing in the pipeline back on track, clean up banks as quickly as possible and set them back on credit growth,” admitting that while some of these measures have already been taken, he would also try and find two or three key reforms, which could unleash growth.

"Certainly one of them (the reforms) has to be how we revive agriculture in a way that reduces distress. Second would be an issue of land acquisition; can we learn from the best practices of the states and find methods that seem fair and in a sense also give states the freedom to pick the method that works best for them so that we learn from each other’s experiments," he added.

In his new book, Third Pillar: How Markets And The State Leave The Community Behind, former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan seeks to explain what has caused the rise of nationalist populism and how the benefits of globalisation, liberal secular policies and limited government may be saved and yet, the just anger of displaced communities be addressed.

As Rajan sees it, our society, economy and polity are an interplay of state, markets and the community and many of the current problems of anger and alienation have come about partly because of skewed markets and technology. These have made meritocracy a hereditary phenomenon and is partly because of extreme centralisation of powers in the political sovereign.
| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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