Former National Development Bank chief KV Kamath expressed confidence in India's ambition to become a 5 trillion dollar economy in the next five years and said that the Prime Minister's call for a self-reliant India will act as an aid.
In an exclusive interview with Network18’s Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi, he said, " I am clear this country is going to head towards the USD 5 trillion economy, the domestic market is going to get bigger and bigger which means that domestic companies will have a large space to operate in. Now in terms of how they balance domestic production and domestic supply with access to global markets is something that they will have to carefully work on."
Elaborating on how the country should prioritise between domestic production and imports he said, "This is an assessment they have to do, they will then have to see whether this particular item could be indigenized rather than relied on imports always. This is the first step we need to take."
The business leader also said that it is a boon for domestic markets and they will be playing major role in realising the economic ambition of the country.
"I think Atmanirbhar to me also means that at the end of the day with all these things, your own strength and leveraging global strength, how do you look at the global market and how do you stand as a player in the global market because that accelerates your path to the USD 5 trillion economy. Of course there are several other drivers for the USD 5 trillion economy, but in the context of Atmanirbhar Bharat, I think that accelerates a larger marketplace," he added.
He also said that the goal of making a self-reliant India should be separated from the push to reduce dependence on China. “I think Atmanirbhar is a much bigger concept. It is the ability to stand on your own feet, look after yourself. So I would disconnect these two. There is an opportunity to indigenise, let us do that,” he said.
But he said, India should be cautious in how it goes about decoupling from China by reducing imports. “If I look at the imbalance in trade, it probably cannot be immediate because you have to be careful to see who it hurts more in the immediate sense.”
On the IMF and other global agencies down-rating India's growth rate, he presented a contrarian view and predicted that India’s economy will rebound quickly.
“Most of these numbers come out of models and you know what happens in models; the robustness of the output is directly proportional to what goes in. At least in India things seem to be coming around or will come around much quicker than any of these agencies or institutions estimated,” he said.
“If I look at 4-5 components of our economy and the steps taken by the government and I think that is critical; the continuous steps that have been taken and all this have been very beneficial for the economy and helped in the turnaround," he added.