India will double its investments in infrastructure to $1 trillion during the 11th Five Year Plan that begins 2012, with half of that expected from the private sector, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at this Swiss ski resort, the key policy maker said the private sector investment so envisaged includes capital inflow from overseas.
“We didn’t invent the term ‘inclusive growth’ to mean ‘inclusive of the private sector and inclusive of foreign investment’ — but that’s clearly the nature of the policy,” Ahluwalia said at a session on inclusive growth.
“In India, it is clear: It’s private sector-led growth in which the government plays a very important role in providing the infrastructure that will make this growth possible, and it’s the social policy that will make growth inclusive.”
Jamshyd N. Godrej, chairman and managing director of Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co, said that inclusive growth was transforming India. He pointed to “Bihar, a state that had been the poster boy of no development, is now in the vanguard of growth”.
Agreeing with Godrej, Janmejaya K. Sinha, chair for Asia-Pacific region with The Boston Consulting Group, said the obligation of financial institutions and banks to serve the underprivileged people had thrown open immense opportunities.
“In India, some 55 percent of people are excluded from financial services, and most of these are below 30. So, there’s an opportunity of having 400 million customers for 45 years,” Sinha said.
The meeting was attended, among others, by business leaders, investors and academics including Prof Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University in New York and a winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics.