Although India must grow at a compounded rate of 7-7.5% for the next 25 years, Somanathan said several countries became developed nations without their growth rate even touching 6%.
In his address at the G Ramachandran Endowment Lecture on “Development in changing times: The role of government efficiency”, at the Madras School of Economics here, Somanathan said there is an impression India should grow at 8-10% for the next quarter century to become a developed nation by 2047.
“While we need to be concerned about India’s growth rate and, of course, India needs to grow as fast as it can, and it must, there is no need to panic if we do not grow at some particular targeted rate of growth or we don’t necessarily grow as fast as China or Japan in their peak periods of growth,” he said. Somanathan said it must not be assumed that we will never travel to our destination in the event of missing the bullet train. “We may get there in a slower train. We need to have a realistic approach to how India will become a developed country.” India should have its own way of growth since the China model can’t be largely emulated for Indian conditions, he emphasised the need for efficiency and delegation of more powers at all government levels.
Later, Somanathan said he wasn’t commenting in his official, but personal, capacity.
To a question that the India-UK Free Trade Agreement is unlikely to meet a Diwali (October 24) deadline, he said that the Centre has decided to negotiate FTAs which are in India’s interest.