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Kolkata: RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan during the 549th RBI central board meeting in Kolkata on Dec 11, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Chak de India: IMF chief Lagarde upbeat on India future

Calling India a “bright” spot on the global economic horizon, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Monday said the country was bigger than what is perceived and must seize its moment to excel and show the world its consumer power.

“Chak de India!” or come on India, Laarde said in her speech at Lady Shriram College here, as she commenced her two-day visit to India, which will take her to Mumbai on Tuesday.

“India is the bright spot in the global economy at the moment,” she said, echoing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech last month when he said that at a time other economies were facing serious challenges, India was about to take-off on a faster growth trajectory.

Regarding RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, who was a chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, and whom she is slated to meet in Mumbai on Tuesday, Lagarde said: “He’s not bad, he’s pretty good. I want to be very respectful of what Raghu (Raghuram Rajan) does.

“While many countries in the world are grappling with low growth, India’s marching in the opposite direction,” Lagarde told the audience. “India is bigger than the sum of its parts. India is bigger than India.

“The recent reforms have given booster shot to India’s growth. We see a 7.5 percent growth next year, making India the fastest growing country among emerging economies.”

Her prescription for India: Early implementation of a pan-India goods and services tax regime, reform of the subsidy regime, fiscal discipline and sound financial markets.

“Growth can’t be your only goal — welfare of people, specially those have traditionally not been included. That should be your objective — inclusiveness. That way you won’t have to face these cycles of ups and downs that have been troubling you.”

According to her, implementation of economic liberalisation programme was more important than bold reforms. Yet, she felt, India today was in a position to face eventualities — like the one posed by possible hike in the US interest rates.

“India’s well-prepared. Fundamentally, you are strong.”

As per IMF officials here, Lagarde’s itinerary during her two-day India visit includes meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and key leaders such as Finance Minister Jaitley here.

She is also scheduled to attend a public event hosted by the central bank in Mumbai on Tuesday.

As she landed in India, the IMF chief said India was on its path to becoming the world’s fastest growing economy.

“Wondeful to be back in vibrant India – poised to become world’s fastest growing large economy,” Lagarde tweeted, as the multilateral funding institution predicted a 7.25 percent growth for the country this fiscal, rising to around 7.5 percent the next year.

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