Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy has described the current economic slowdown in India as cyclical and that the primary change was that the expectations of people had gone up. It is worth noting that India’s GDP grew only 5 per cent in the first quarter, the slowest in more than six years, dragged down by weak consumer demand and sluggish private investments.
The Narendra Modi-led government has taken several reform measures, including tax cuts and targeted sops, to counter the crippling effects of the economic downturn.
"In the 70s, if someone had told my father that India had 5 per cent economic growth, he would be jumping with joy, (now) we all get concerned with 5 per cent growth. We have to realise that all that has happened is that our expectations have gone higher," Murthy said in an interview.
Exuding confidence, he mentioned that good days will come back as all economies move in a cycle, and India has grown at 7-8 per cent for the last 15-18 years.
About concerns over India becoming increasingly protectionist and insular, the IT czar said that the Centre would need to take measures to keep an optimum balance of payments.
"You have to get back to the pre-1991 era where there was a banned list. Today, we don’t have that, so now if we try to decelerate imports we all get worried. So, I don’t look at these issues as one we should get into a panic about," Murthy said.
Separately, speaking at Saudi Arabia’s annual investment forum in October this year, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani had said the slowdown was temporary, and a series of reforms unveiled by the government in the last few months would soon boost the Indian economy.
Addressing an event organised to announce the winners of the 11th Infosys Prize by Infosys Science Foundation in Bengaluru, Murthy emphasised that India must invest more in research to solve its issues.
"We believe that research has to progress in all aspects of human life, whether it is physical sciences, mathematics, engineering or social sciences and arts. In every one of these, we need progress," he added.