Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said India has the potential for "very rapid" economic growth over the next decade which will lift people out of poverty and allow the government to invest in health and education priorities in an 'exciting way'.
Gates, world's richest person, lauded the government for Aadhaar identity system and the country's performance in the financial services and pharma sectors. Positive outlook from the billionaire comes at a time when Asia's third-largest economy is reeling under major slowdown amid apprehensions that the cycle may last for a longer period.
"I don't have any knowledge about the near term, but I'd say over the next decade, there's potential for very rapid growth, which will lift people out of poverty and allow the government to invest in health and education priorities in a really exciting way," Gates told PTI.
On Friday, Gates, 64, regained his status as the world's richest person for the first time in two years surpassing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
"... Everybody hopes that there's really good growth because the potential is certainly there for India to have high growth," he said.
The billionaire is currently on a three-day visit to India to review the work of his foundation in the country. India's economic growth in April-June hit a six-year low of 5 per cent and there were signs that expansion may not have picked up substantially in the subsequent quarter.
The fall in economic growth prompted many global agencies to lower GDP growth target by various degrees for 2019-20.
Gates also lauded Aadhaar identification system as well as adoption of the UPI system. "Well, in all of our areas, India's been a key place where we find innovators and financial services. It's fantastic the way that the Aadhaar identity system and the overall UPI system is gaining adoption, and there's some great lessons out of that work," he said. "We partner with people like Nandan Nilekani to think, okay, how do the lessons from India apply to other countries for things like digital identity or financial services," he said.
With PTI inputs
By Aseem Thapliyal