India’s economy recorded its slowest growth in a decade in the fiscal year ending in March but the CEO of L&T Infrastructure Finance, that provides loans to companies such as Jaypee Group to develop roads and other infrastructure, is hopeful of an economic turnaround in less than two years that will boost business prospects.
The company, part of India’s largest engineering and construction conglomerate Larsen & Toubro, will likely end up dealing with a slowdown in business growth in the current financial year, but might bounce right back next year if the winner of India’s federal elections due in 2014 starts spending on infrastructure projects.
Reuters spoke to Chief Executive Officer Suneet Maheshwari about his outlook for the industry and the Indian economy. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: What is your outlook for the industry?
A: It is difficult to imagine for any individual that we will always be doing good. Sometimes you will have a viral attack. Business is also like that. To believe that this will pass off in one year for the world and for India will be extreme short-sightedness and lack of understanding of what the real world is … I know it is dismal, but which country in the world is showing 5.3.-5.4 percent growth? This year I believe, with whatever Chidambaram is doing, we will hit 6 percent growth.
I personally feel that this view about India by ratings agencies – to put it on a pathway to downgrade or a watch towards a negative outlook – that is being too severe on India. And those who are doing it have probably not understood India very well.
Q: Do you feel the upcoming general elections could delay plans or government spending?