Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh's statement in the Lok Sabha, on the current economic situation in India:
The movement of the exchange rate of the Indian Rupee recently has been a matter of concern. The Rupee has depreciated sharply against the dollar since the last week of May. There are concerns, and justifiably so, of the impact this would have on our economy.
What triggered the sharp and sudden depreciation was the markets reaction to certain unexpected external developments. On May 22, 2013, the US Federal Reserve Bank indicated that it would soon taper its quantitative easing as the US economy was recovering. This led to a reversal of capital flows to emerging economies which are now sharply pulling down not just the Rupee, but also the Brazilian Real, the Turkish Lira, the Indonesian Rupiah, the South African Rand and many other currencies.
While global factors such as tensions over Syria and the prospect of U.S. Federal Reserve tapering its policy of quantitative easing have caused general weaknesses in emerging market currencies, the rupee has been especially hit because of our large current account deficit and some other domestic factors. We intend to act to reduce the current account deficit and bring about an improvement in the functioning of our economy.
In 2010-11 and the years prior to it, our current account deficit was more modest and financing it was not difficult, even in the crisis year of 2008-09. Since then, there has been a deterioration, mainly on account of huge imports of gold, higher costs of crude oil imports and recently, of coal. On the export side, weak demand in our major markets has kept our exports from growing. Exports have been further hit by a collapse in iron ore exports. Taken together, these factors have made our current account deficit unsustainably large.
Clearly we need to reduce our appetite for gold, economise in the use of petroleum products and take steps to increase our exports.
We have taken measures to reduce the current account deficit. The Finance Minister has indicated that it will be below $