India needs to make immediate “structural changes” in its system of governance to ensure a higher growth rate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday, according to NDTV, an Indian news network. Speaking at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Jaitley also said that India has “lost out to competing with China.”
“The economies which are competing with us are not doing very well. If India will keep taking the right turns, we can go back to a high economic growth rate,” Jaitley reportedly said, adding that the country needs to avoid repeating “mistakes of the past 10 years.”
Jaitley also said that there was a need to make systemic changes to ensure that India’s “outdated” laws, including anti-corruption laws dating back to 1988, are overhauled to suit “modern day requirements” and that the country’s tax-related laws be made “fair, reasonable and non-adversarial.”
Jaitley’s comments come just a day after Indian officials claimed that they had reached a broad consensus with the U.S. over a bilateral tax agreement that would simplify the tax regime in India and boost foreign investment, according to a Reuters report. The agreement, which reportedly deals with the issue of transfer pricing, is expected to be signed during U.S. President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to India.
Earlier on Thursday, the finance minister had said that India, whose current growth rate is hovering around 5 percent, had the potential to grow at over 9 percent. “We have a roadmap to bring down fiscal deficit below three percent in a few years … we have also maintained inflation at an acceptable level,” Jaitley had said, according to local media reports.
Meanwhile, ratings agency Standard and Poor’s hinted that a further upward revision of India’s rating outlook, which is currently at “stable,” cannot be ruled out, adding that the country’s performance in reducing its fiscal deficit over the next two years would be key to further ratings upgrades, according to a report by The Economic Times, an Indian newspaper.