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Fresh Water, HIV Biggest of India's Six Challenges: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Admitting that India faced six major risks - HIV/AIDS and depleting freshwater supplies to name just two - Finance Minister P. Chidambaram declared at the India// Economic Summit here Sunday there was no need for alarm as solutions were on hand to overcome the challenges.

"Every risk is an opportunity for innovation and change. It gives the impetus for technological change, an opportunity to move ahead at a swifter pace," Chidambaram contended before the packed audience.

"Many of the six risks are manageable with technologies we already possesses. The others can be managed by technologies we can acquire over the next 10-20 years," he added.

The six risks as enunciated by the industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Global Risk Network, an arm of the World Economic Forum, are:

* Loss of freshwater (quantity and quality) - Is India running out of freshwater services?

* Oil peaks - How vulnerable is India to an oil price shock? What oil price level would risk derailing India's growth?

* Economic impact of demographics - India is facing a demographic dividend. Might it turn into a demographic liability?

* Globalisation versus protectionism - What happens if there is a backlash or retrenchment from globalisation?

* Climate change, the environment and challenges to Indian growth - Can India balance the complex trade-offs between the environment and growth?

* HIV/AIDS and TB - What will it take to combat the spread of HIV and TB? What if India fails?

Of these, Chidambaram termed the spread of HIV as the "greatest risk" as it had the "frightening propensity to get out of hand".

"We have been ducking the issue. We have to be more open on the issue of safe sex. Once we take this head on, we will be able to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS," he added.

Accusing the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP
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TAG: Fresh Water HIV Biggest India Six Challenges Chidambaram

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