Mukesh Ambani wants path breaking reforms

Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani called for pathbreaking reforms, particularly in health, education and agriculture, similar to the 1991 abolition of industrial licencing, to lift economic growth to a new trajectory. “Mere policy reforms to incrementally affect the status quo will be meaningless to grab this opportunity. We will need disruptive policies, like the one which changed the future of India in 1991. The disruptive industrial policy that allowed India to compete with the rest of the world,” he told members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He said reforms of 1991, when government shed many controls on businesses, had catapulted the $300-billion economy to $1.3 trillion in 20 years and increased the market significantly, but the coming decades had the potential for more explosive growth. “The great Indian story then veers to another set of facts and figures. It reflects our dismal physical infrastructure. Our minuscule per capita energy consumption. The non-existent distribution. And problems of last mile access.” He said India’s per capita GDP, which is just over $1,000, is lower than that of some neighbouring countries and a third of China’s, and India was home to 40% of the world’s poor. “The India story is unsustainable without discovering policies and practical means of including these millions in the mainstream of our progress,” he said. He said the country needed “radical reforms in the health sector Improving the lot of the deprived people presented enormous business opportunities, he added. “At a modest $1,000 per year per person for higher education, India represents a $200-billion demand by 2020,” he said. “India can produce value-added food, medicinal plants, aromatic oils and biomaterials for global markets. In the next ten years there is an opportunity to add $500 billion year-on-year in this sector,” he said. Mr Ambani said high global prices farm products made agriculture an even more exciting prospect. “It is good we didn’t find the KG gas when oil was $20. It is better to find oil when it is $100,” he said.

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