India stresses on better governance in Asia at ADB

Hanoi: Underscoring the need for regional cooperation for development, India on Wednesday said countries within Asia should strive for better governance and transparency in policy making.

Addressing the Governors` Seminar on `ASIA 2050` at the annual meeting of the ADB here, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said an enabling environment and appropriate institutional structure is a prerequisite for the Asia growth story to unfold.

Referring to the issue of transparency, Mukherjee said, "When we talk about governance, it is not just corruption, but also accountability and predictability."

He said all countries need to work toward improving governance, the quality of their institutions and apply transparency and accountability filters to domestic policy making and implementation.

As the Asian economies try to rebalance growth toward internal demand, regional cooperation and integration through transport and energy connectivity could pave the way for the emergence of a vibrant regional market, he said.

"Strengthening cross border infrastructure linkages in transport, communications and energy sectors would help in addressing bottlenecks that are impeding growth," the minister said.

While Asia has experienced high economic growth over the past few decades and emerged as the lynchpin of global recovery, it is not "on the auto-pilot mode and would require careful steering…," he cautioned

The Indian Finance Minister said if Asia has to reach the level of an affluent region, achieving broad-based, inclusive and sustained growth would be a paramount necessary.

About one billion people, the majority of them Asians, live below the poverty line and face chronic undernourishment.

Mukherjee also said Asian countries should aim to transform their economies into knowledge-and skill-based economies over the next 40 years to ensure high sustained growth.

An ADB report has predicted that Asia`s gross domestic product (GDP) would soar to USD 148 trillion and account for 51 per cent of global output in 2050.