‘Universal’ frustration with pace of India reforms: Hero CEO
Indians are frustrated by the slow pace of government reforms aimed at reigniting the country's previously stellar growth, said the head of India's Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer.
India's growth has disappointed for several quarters, with growth decelerating from above-9 percent in 2010 to as low as 4.4 percent in the second quarter 2013 — lagging far behind economic rival China, which has maintained growth rates above 7 percent this year.
Last Friday, official numbers showed India's economy grew by 4.8 percent in the third quarter year-on-year.
"The frustration with the pace of reforms is somewhat universal. It is not just with me alone. It is upsetting when you can see that things need to be done, and don't get done," said Sunil Kant Munjal, the Indian chief executive of New Delhi-based Hero MotoCorp.
In particular, efforts to reignite the Indian economy have been hampered by low investment and bureaucratic bars to launching and sustaining much-needed infrastructure projects.
The slow pace of reforms has also been cited by analysts as one reason why Indian assets were particularly hard hit by the turmoil that swept through emerging markets earlier this year amid worries about a scaling back of U.S. monetary stimulus.
(Read more: Can India and Indonesia tough out Fed tapering?)
Against that backdrop the rupee hit a record low against the U.S. dollar in August.
"It would take significant structural reforms to elevate Indian growth back to the 8 or 9 percent level and that there is no sign that is going to happen any time soon. One of the big problems is the inability to get large investment projects off the ground," said Mark Williams, the chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, after the latest growth numbers were published.
"Across the country, projects have stalled or haven't got approval to even start. So something has to be done to clear that backlog," he said.
Investors in India have also been deterred by concerns about its fractured political landscape, particularly in the run-up to its national election in May 2014.
(Read more: India's turnaround is very close: Goldman Sachs)
Munjal said that the current government, led by the center-left Indian National Congress, had increased the pace of reforms over the last year, but that this would likely fall-off as the election neared.
"To be fair to the government, while they were slow for a number of years, in the last year or so they have picked up the pace a bit more… I expect the focus on industry and the economy to tail-off as the election comes nearer," he said.
—By CNBC's Katy Barnato