India’s economic growth is down to its lowest rate in six years, and the Narendra Modi government has found the reason: Other countries are growing too fast.
When questioned about India’s fall in the global competitiveness ranking, Piyush Goyal, the minister of commerce and industry, told parliament yesterday (Nov. 27): “India’s ranking in the global competitiveness index has fallen by 10 ranks partly as a consequence of (the) relatively small decline in score but more significantly due to faster improvements of several countries earlier ranked close to India.”
The rankings are brought out by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, which describes them as “an annual assessment of the drivers of productivity and long-term economic growth.” India’s position on the index has been falling for three years. It currently stands at 68th among 141 economies.
The countries that were ranked immediately below India last year have improved their scores. But as Goyal mentioned, India’s individual score has itself been falling. The country’s biggest challenges will be improving public health and education, communication technologies, and the skills of its workforce, according to the index report.
Days after Modi won the second term in national elections in May, India lost its title as the world’s fastest-growing economy to China. The GDP growth rate has since fallen to 5% for the April-June quarter. Official GDP numbers for the July-September quarter are expected tomorrow, and forecasters say they are likely to be even lower.
In September, when reporters had questioned Goyal on the GDP numbers, he had said: “Don’t get into those maths; those maths never helped Einstein discover gravity. If he had only gone by structured formulae and what was past knowledge, I don’t think there would have been any innovation in this world.” Except that Einstein never discovered gravity, Newton did.
After being called out for his error, Goyal defended it by saying, “Mr Einstein said and I quote ‘A person who never made a mistake; never tried anything new.’ I am not among those who is afraid of making a mistake.”