Inflation and growth don't mix, warns India's chief economic adviser

25 October 2014

India must curb inflation and the budget deficit to revive economic growth from near a decade low, the newly-appointed chief economic adviser to the finance ministry, Arvind Subramanian, said on Friday.

Clearing infrastructure bottlenecks and improving decision-making by the bureaucracy also are keys to boosting the pace of GDP growth to 8 per cent, Subramanian said in an interview podcast on the International Monetary Fund's website.

Subramanian was appointed India's top economic adviser last week. The post was vacant for a year after his predecessor Raghuram Rajan took charge as governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Restarting stalled projects by clearing hurdles such as coal and power shortages is among the government's priorities, Subramanian said. A growth rate of about 5 per cent, as seen in the last two fiscal years, is ''not even remotely enough'' to provide jobs to India's growing labour force. The nation must strive to maintain an expansion rate of about 8 per cent for 20-25 years, he said.

Consumer-price inflation in India decelerated to 6.46 per cent in September from as much as 11.2 per cent in November 2013. The government aims to narrow the deficit in public finances to 4.1 per cent of gross domestic production in the year through March 2015, according to budget estimates.

The Indian economy grew at 4.7 per cent in the year ended 31 March, compared with the previous period's 4.5 per cent that was the slowest in a decade.

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