Indian industry has offered the government a wide menu of options to choose from to push growth, including a sovereign bond, raising of duty on imported consumer goods, and selling of HZL and Balco shares held by the government.
The options were made at a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his council on trade and industry on Monday. The meeting gave a chance for Singh and senior ministers, including finance minister P Chidambaram, to explain the steps taken and those planned to revive investments in the economy.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office after the meeting noted that Singh has asked “for a report within a month on what could be done in the next couple of months to revive growth”. Other than Chidambaram, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and chairman of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) C Rangarajan were present along with Singh at the meeting.
From industry, the meeting was attended by Deepak Parekh, Rahul Bajaj, Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji, Chanda Kochhar, Jamshyd N Godrej, Venu Srinivasan, Sunil Kant Munjal, S Gopalakrishnan and Sunil Bharti Mittal.
“We have given suggestion in two categories, one for near term and one for longer run. For near term, we have suggested clearing of large projects and those projects which are cleared should be executed,” a statement issued by Ficci president Naina Lal Kidwai noted. The business leaders raised the issues of current account deficit, reviving economic growth, industrial corridors and skill development in the meeting. The CAD last fiscal was 4.8 per cent and the government intends to bring it down to 4.2 per cent this financial year. The rupee slide is another concern for the government. Earlier this month, it plummeted to all-time low of 61.21 against the US dollar.
A CII statement said industry wants to see a reduction in repo rate and CRR by 100 basis points “in the course of this fiscal. Procedural issues must be addressed adequately through inter-ministerial coordination and coordination with the states. Both large infrastructure and manufacturing projects should be cleared rapidly too.”