Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has virtually rebutted Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan's remarks that India is "oneeyed king in the land of blind" saying compared to the rest of the world, the Indian economy is growing much faster and, in fact, the fastest.
"At 7.5-per cent growth rate, any other country in the world would be celebrating. But it is a tribute to India's growth story that at this rate, we are still impatient because we know that our potential is to do distinctively better," Jaitley said reacting to a question by CNBC TV18 on Rajan's remarks last week that at 7.5-per cent growth rate, India seemed to be "one eyed king in the land of blind".
"Compared to the rest of the world we are growing much faster, in fact, the fastest. Compared to our own potential, we can do better," Jaitley said. On the potential to do distinctively better, Jaitley said, "I see a couple of variables (like good monsoon and reforms)-if they work to our advantage, we can do much better. Assuming we have a moderate monsoon or a good monsoon, I am sure we will improve upon our growth rates, but I see no difficulty in maintaining the present one because of the thrust on the kind of economic activity going on in India, public investment, foreign direct investment, increased demand."
As regards reforms, the minister said that the momentum must continue and expressed hope that goods and services tax (GST) will get through with numbers changing for the better in the Rajya Sabha.
Jaitley parried questions on whether the government plans to give extension to Rajan, whose term is coming to an end in September, but did mention that RBI has done fairly well. "These issues are not discussed in the media," he said. In last oneand-a-half years, the RBI has reduced interest rate by 1.50 per cent and the rates can come down further if there is good monsoon and inflation remains under control. "Once prices came under control, I think it was incumbent and this was a national expectation that the rates should go down ... I am sure if this trend of containing inflation continues, we can hope for a better interest rate regime which in turn will have a spiral effect on improving upon India's productivity and generate more activity," he said.