India needs to grow at 10.5-11 per cent in real terms in the next fiscal and sustain that to overcome massive ill-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Friday. Kumar further said India needs to be prepared for the next pandemic as the country was caught unprepared during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need to grow at 10.5 to 11 per cent in real terms 2021-22 and then sustain that to overcome massive ill-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said while addressing a virtual event organised by National CSR Network. India’s economy is estimated to contract 8 per cent in fiscal 2020-21.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has projected India’s economic growth in 2021-22 at 10.5 per cent, while Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian has projected an 11 per cent growth for the same period. The Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman also noted that the Indian economy is now surging towards a recovery. “We have to make sure that we take everybody along,” he said. The last time India suffered due to a pandemic was during the Spanish Flu in 1918 and the country lost 5-7 per cent population, Kumar added. “We better prepare for the next pandemic. We were caught unprepared (during the COVID-19 crisis). “…We did not know the extent to which our people will be affected. Migrants took us by surprise,” he said. Noting that the business as usual will not do, Kumar said there is a need to reduce the size of India’s informal economy.
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He pointed out that corporations and the government are fighting the pandemic together. “Development agenda cannot be entirely advanced by the government alone. Political leaders and corporate leaders need to work together,” he said. Observing that India’s political leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, had no qualms in working with corporate leaders, he said, “It is time again to rekindle that”. “Time therefore to get over this nonsense of calling names of corporate leaders or mistrusting the corporate leaders,” he added. Kumar noted that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the bridge between corporate and society. The CSR can be a bridge between the government and corporate also, he added. “The CSR is critical to the working of society and economy. “The CSR is misunderstood, CSR is not charity but something essential to Corporates,” he said.