Economic slowdown will not be significant: PM (Lead)

November 11th, 2008 - 3:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Emphasising that the Indian economy continued to be on a sound footing, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that a slowdown, if any, would not be significant, even as he assured all steps to tide over the impact of current global financial crisis.”Ours is a strong economy and there might be a slowdown but it won’t be a major slowdown,” the prime minister told reporters on board his special aircraft while returning home from a two-nation visit to the Gulf.

“We are aware that private companies would have to take steps to safeguard their interests. Whatever industry wants we will take a fresh look at. We will do whatever needed to keep the economy sound,” Manmohan Singh maintained.

The prime minister also defended the concessions given to private carriers like allowing them more time to pay their fuel dues to state-run oil retailing firms, saying it was not intended at bailing out their managements.

“There is an employment angle to be looked at. If airlines close down, there will be a considerable amount of unemployment. We don’t want unemployment to become more acute, more pronounced,” he said.

“It is not a question of helping the rich. It is helping the middle class people - those who will lose their jobs in case the companies were to make losses year after year,” he said.

“Whatever the Indian industry needs by way of government support to maintain employment and profitability, it is the duty of the government to help.”

Prior to his departure, the prime minister had said even as the global slowdown had slightly impacted on the country, the resilience of the Indian economy and its market dynamics would help it return to a high growth path.

“The present international economic and financial situation has clouded some of the prospects of growth in the near term,” he said, adding: “But the strong and dynamic private sector will eventually allow us to return to a 9-percent growth trajectory,”

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