Comparing the Indian economy to a super highway, noted economist Thomas Friedman has said he is optimistic about the growth potential of the country, which remains a true democracy.
Friedman, also well known for his book ‘The World is Flat, said that he remains “hugely optimistic about India”.
“People often ask me about India, China. For me they are two super highways but they are difficult… For India, some white lines are not there, there may not be some sidewalks, but it still a super highway when you drive on it, but whether that is a mirage or true, I don’t know,” he said.
Friedman was participating in a session on India Outlook at the World Economic Forum (WEF) here yesterday where Finance Minister P Chidambaram was present.
Referring to the highway imagery, Chidambaram said a speed bumper like political reforms cannot be fixed easily.
“Things like street lights not working, white lines not being there, those things can be fixed. But if there is a speed bumper like political reforms, it cannot be fixed so easily. Fixing street lights and white lines are a much easier job,” the Finance Minister said yesterday.
His comments at a time when some of the reform initiatives of the government are facing opposition from political parties.
The Indian economy is expected to grow 5 percent in the current fiscal and over 6 percent in the next financial year.
The country’s growth rate slipped to a decade-low of 5 percent in 2012-13 fiscal.
According to Friedman, he still believes in India’s huge human resource pool.
“Its noisy, its messy, it can be violent at times, but it (India) is a country that still remains a true democracy. India’s pluralism and its ability to manage it is a big lesson for whole world. At the end of the day, it is governance that matters,” he said.
Regarding the Chinese economy, Friedman said the country has very good roads, but there is a speed bumper called political reforms.