Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy on Thursday claimed that the Indian economy was growing at 6%-7% this year and “investor confidence is at a historic high”, ANI reported. He added that India had become the world’s software development centre and its foreign exchange reserve had crossed $400 billion (Rs 29 lakh crore).

“For the first time in 300 years, we have an economic environment that engenders confidence that we can indeed overcome our poverty and create a better future for every Indian,” PTI quoted Murthy as saying at the fourth convocation ceremony of the Madan Mohan Malaviya University of Technology in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur city. Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Adityanath and university Vice Chancellor Niwas Singh were among those who attended the event.

Murthy claimed “we can wipe the tears off the eyes of the poorest of the poor child, as Mahatma Gandhi wanted”, and said it was easier to drape oneself with the national flag and shout “Mera Bharat Mahaan” and “Jai Ho” than practise the values. “Patriotism means what will bring the best out of every citizen,” he added. “We have to put the interest of our nation ahead of our personal interests, avoiding our egos and biases.”

The former Infosys chief said he was optimistic about the country’s future. “Portfolio investments from abroad and foreign direct investment into India are growing faster than ever,” he added. “Our entrepreneurs are receiving huge funding from venture capitalists. Our stock exchanges are doing pretty well. According to the Forbes magazine, the number of billionaires in India is increasing.”

Murthy also spoke of a “parallel India” steeped in poverty, illiteracy, ill health and malnutrition. “Our governments have to become more citizen friendly and remove all obstacles to entrepreneurs to create larger and larger number of jobs,” he said. “Our economic policies have to be less populist and more based on expertise. We have to shun jingoism.”

His comments came the same day Shamika Ravi, a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, and NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar sounded warnings about the state of the economy. Ravi said the country was facing a structural slowdown, and called for major reforms. Her colleague in the council Rathin Roy has also argued that India is currently dealing with a structural demand problem. Last month, he had said India was facing a “silent fiscal crisis” because of a shortfall in tax revenues.

Economic growth slipped to a five-year low of 5.8% in the January to March quarter. This was the slowest pace of growth in 17 quarters. A number of economists have also raised questions about the methodology of assessing official growth numbers. In recent weeks, the automobile sector and biscuit makers have reported a slowdown in sales. Steelmaker JSW Steel has also said the industry may be forced to cut its production in the future because of falling consumer demand.

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