Policy hurdles may make India Asia’s Greece: Aditya Puri, MD & CEO, HDFC Bank

India will miss its best opportunity to fish in troubled international waters and face the spectre of becoming Asia’s Greece if coal, fiscal deficit and land acquisition issues are not fixed, said the chief executive of the nation’s most valuable bank.

Permitting FDI in retail and insurance would help the economy on the margins, but not take India back to 8% economic growth rate;  politicians burying differences and parliamentarians getting their act together will, he said. “FDI in retail and insurance is not the big-bang  reform,” Aditya Puri, CEO of HDFC BankBSE 0.23 %, told ET in an interview ( Address basics & things will fall in Place: Puri) before Friday’s  announcements.

“If you tell me one Walmart coming into India will solve your agriculture problems and issues about cold chain, production, irrigation and  distribution, then you must be living in a cuckoo land.” Puri joins the chorus of corporate giants such as Kumar Mangalam Birla and Adi Godrej,  who are demanding that politicians address national issues which are dragging the economy down. Legislation has been stalled by the Opposition over the Coalgate scandal.

“They should address the fiscal deficit problem, resolve the coal issue, introduce transparent and clear policies on land acquisition, mining rights and other environmental issues, and bring in accountability of the government and public sector,” Puri said.

Sounding a note of caution, he said, “If you continue living like this, we will have problems like Greece…If you carry on like this, you are headed towards disaster.” “The whole world has problems they don’t know how to fix. By God’s grace, we know how to fix the problem, we’re just not doing it.”


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