India is a land of a billion opportunities that has a potential to achieve a double-digit growth rate, said experts at a high-profile event at LSE in London
Making a strong pitch for economic optimism, speakers at a high-profile event at the elite London School of Economics (LSE), said India, 'a land of a billion opportunities', had a potential to achieve a double-digit growth rate, reports PTI.
Hosted by LSE's India Observatory, the event included release of Rajya Sabha MP and economist NK Singh's book 'Not by Reason Alone: The Politics of Change' by Shobhana Bhartia, chairman of HT Media, and an engaging panel discussion and interaction with students.
The panel included Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Lord Meghnad Desai, LSE-based economist and academic, Lord Chris Patten, chancellor of the University of Oxford, and Lord Nicholas Stern, I G Patel professor of Economics & Government at the LSE.
In the book, Mr Singh, who has played a key role in India's economic reforms, draws on his diverse experiences to comment on the past and present of the politics of change. He said good politics led to good economics and mentioned the unprecedented 11% rate of growth recorded by Bihar in the latest official estimates.
"I see India as a land of a billion opportunities, not a land of a billion problems. Lot of good things are happening. We should be optimistic," Mr Ambani said.
Compared to other recession-hit countries, India had “less baggage” and a “strong balance sheet”, and was in a “great position to start off”, he said.
According to Mr Ambani, 9% should be India's default growth rate when it had the potential of at least 11%. "We need more responsible government, a change of governance, and build more institutions. India is in a fortunate position compared to the rest of the world. We have less baggage, a young population. India's strength is all about soft power," he said.
Noting that India recorded 7% rate of growth in the last two years of the economic downturn, Mr Ahluwalia said that India has done “exceptionally well” to manage the global recession.
"Surely, we are doing something well," he said, adding that reforms were all about restructuring the government.
Lord Patten paid tributes to India's resilience as a nation-state despite diversity, and said though he was a fan of China's economic success, India had been more successful in developing global brands.
"India does not lock up people; it does not have famines and there has not been a single Indian member of the Al Qaeda. That says something about India's stability," Lord Patten said.
India, Lord Patten said, needed to invest in higher education and research, and noted that Hong Kong alone had two of the best universities in the world.
The ministry of environment and forests has issued a letter to the Adani Group stating that the permission for coal mining has been denied to them since it would destroy rich forests and the tiger habitat at Tiroda in Maharashtra
The ministry of environment and forests has denied permission to the Adani Group for coal mining at Lohara near Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), for setting up a 1,980-MW power plant in Gondia district of Maharashtra, reports PTI.
Adani Power is setting up the project at Tiroda (Gondia) and had planned to source the coal from Lohara.
"Our ministry issued a letter on 7th January to the Adani Group stating that the permission (for coal mining) has been denied to them since it would destroy rich forests and the tiger habitat," Union minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters after his visit to Lohara.
Mr Ramesh, who met several environmental activists here on Tuesday, assured them that “there will be no review and no reconsideration” in this matter.
Dismissing any flip-flop, Mr Ramesh categorically said that the coal block was allotted to the company earlier by the coal ministry, and the environment and forest ministry should have been consulted.
"Our ministry has declined permission and informed the coal ministry to allot an alternative coal block to Adani. I am holding a meeting with the coal minister once in a month to discuss such issues personally," Mr Ramesh added.
He said that the forest ministry has launched an exercise of mapping to identify the coal blocks falling under forest lands and endangering wildlife and forests.
The ministry will give a 'go' and 'no-go' signal in such cases which means only after such permission, coal mining can be taken up, Mr Ramesh said, citing the exercise being conducted at Nand Karan in Jharkhand where out of 58 coal blocks, 38 have been given the ‘go’ and 21 the ‘no-go’ signal.
A similar exercise is being conducted in Talchar, Ibb Valley, Raniganj (West Bengal) and Hansdeo (Chhattisgarh), he said.
Acknowledging the demand for coal for power production, Mr Ramesh said the requirement will increase to 1,000 million tonnes from the present 500 million tonnes.
Coal is abundantly available in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, he said.
Mr Ramesh also expressed concern over increasing pollution levels and said Chandrapur is the fourth most polluted city in the country after Wapi, Ankleshwar (Gujarat) and Ghaziabad. Hence the ministry has decided against new industries in Chandrapur for the next eight months to control industrial pollution, he said.
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