Economic Advisory Council member Sanjeev Sanyal on Sunday said India is capable of sustaining an economic growth of 9 per cent for many years, even as he asserted that a high sustained GDP growth rate is key for the world to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at a side event of the first Sherpa meeting under India’s G20 presidency here, the economist said India has a per capita income of only USD 2,200 and that has been achieved after several years of very high growth rate. “Particularly for the Global South, sustaining high GDP growth rate is critical to achieving SDGs and without that, all we are doing will be re-distributing poverty.
“Even for relatively advanced countries, most of them have very high debt levels. For them also, sustained high level of GDP growth will be very important,” he said. Sanyal was speaking at the first side event of the India’s G20 presidency and the topic was ‘Transforming lives: Accelerating implementation of SDGs’.
Adopted in 2015 by the UN General Assembly, the SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals “for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” that are intended to be achieved by 2030. The goals are: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure and reduced inequalities.
The remaining goals are: sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions and partnerships for the goals. Sanyal said that the GDP growth rate has been good for India despite the recent global crises, but there was still a scope to do better. “We can sustain a growth rate of 9 per cent for many years. But it is not only about India. From the perspective of the Global South, a lot needs to be done,” he said.
As per the latest data, India’s economic growth slowed to 6.3 per cent in the September quarter of 2022-23 on account of contraction in output of manufacturing and mining sectors, but the country continues to remain the fastest-growing major economy ahead of China which registered an economic growth of 3.9 per cent in July-September 2022.
On a lighter note, talking about economic forecasting models, Sanyal said that sausage making was far more neater. Sanyal is currently a member of the prime minister’s Economic Advisory Council. Earlier, he was the Principal Economic Adviser to the finance minister for five years till February 2022. He also rued that most international organisations froze during the Covid crisis and did not provide the kind of hand-holding that was needed during those circumstances.
“The only organisation that functioned during that chaos in 2020-2021 was G20,” Sanyal said, as he called for newer ways of dealing with real issues and collecting real-time data from newer sources. He said G20 is the only organisation to provide a leadership that can give rapid solutions in a real time.