Export-led growth very critical for good jobs in India: Panagariya

India needs to grow at 8-10 per cent annually if good jobs have to be provided to those joining the workforce, eminent economist Arvind Panagariya has said, emphasising that the country must return to an export-led economy to generate employment with higher salaries.

Panagariya, who served as the first Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog from January 2015 to August 2017, underscored that for trade to grow, the country has to be open.

As tariffs are going up on many different items, he said the "whole idea of turning back to import substitution turns the clock back (for India). It is on the back of trade liberalisation and very rapid export expansion during the 2000s onwards that the (Indian) economy really began to grow at this very rapid rate."

"We have to return to becoming an export-led growth country," Panagariya, delivering the keynote address at a panel discussion on 'Economic Priorities for the New Government' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said on Monday.

Panagariya, Director at the Raj Center on Indian Economic Policies at Columbia University, said that the Indian economy grew at a "very impressive" rate of about 7 per cent plus during the 15-year period from 2003-04 onwards. In the last five years of Modi's first term as Prime Minister, the growth rate was a robust 7.5 per cent.

"But we need to get to 8-10 per cent if good jobs are going to be provided. The export-led growth is also very critical for good jobs, he added.

He stressed that there is not a single country which has grown on a sustained basis at rates of 8-10 per cent for 2-3 decades without very rapid growth in trade.

(with news agency inputs)