Avoid populist measures, Goh Chok Tong advises India

Hyderabad, Jan 12 (IANS) Singapore’s Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said India has the potential to become a world leader but advised it to avoid populist measures to sustain the growth.

In his special address at the Partnership Summit 2012 here Thursday, he said he was counting on Indian leadership’s ability to resist populist measures.
The former prime minister of Singapore said taking reforms forward required political will.
“The so called second generation reforms in areas such as introduction of goods and services tax are vitally needed for India to achieve the goal of sustained and aggressive growth,” he said.
While pointing out that India has emerged as a nation with large population in the working age group, he suggested that the country invest more in training and enhancing the skills of youth to make them more productive.
Tong noted that India is demographically a very young country and can remain so for the next 20 years. “The number of people in the working age group is expected to increase from 700 million in 2010 to a staggering 1.2 billion in 2030.”
According to him this would be an advantage for India at a time when other major economies including China are struggling with aging work forces.
He said India was able to withstand the 2008 global downturn due to its strong economic fundamentals such as relatively high domestic investments by Indian multinational companies.
He, however, felt India can do more in integrating itself with the rest of the world. He wanted the Indian industries to focus on their growth outside India.