Urban centres in India will become the hubs of growth over the next two decades, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, pointing to other Asian economies and how they have benefited from urbanisation and technological advancement.

“Today, we have over 31 per cent of our population in urban areas,” Mr Jaitley said while delivering the keynote address at the Asian Think Tank Development Forum 2016. “Over next two decades this figure will substantially increase. And when this happens, we will see urban India really become nerve centres or hubs of growth. This is already happening.”

“You had Asian economies like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, which several decades ago experimented and became technological superpowers,” he added. “They linked their economies to the rest of the world, and treated the rest of the world as a great market, and so grew. And each one of them grew in urbanisation also. Following a different model of low-cost mass production, using urbanisation as an important tool, China replicated in some ways the same experience for itself.”

India is close to experimenting in the same way, the Finance Minister said.

Overall, Mr. Jaitley said that while there is a lot of generic talk about using all the tools available with the government — monetary, fiscal, structural — to prepare India in this time of poor global growth, but there are few ideas on how to actually do so.

“When generics are to be converted to specifics, I find there is a sudden lack of ideas,” Mr. Jaitley said. “Many are waiting for the world to improve on its own rather than come up with specific interventions that will make it change.”

“Of course, the situation in Asia is not as pessimistic as in the rest of the world,” he added. “The good reason for this is that there is still a lot of growth potential that Asia has. And that’s why the Asian growth rate is much higher than the global growth rate.”