India Inc seeks 100-day focus on divestment, rate cuts

May 29th, 2009 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

State Bank of India New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) India Inc has readied its 100-day wish list for the new government. It wants the policies to focus on agriculture, divestment, skill development, infrastructure and manufacturing to nurse the Indian economy back to high growth.
These, said industry lobbies including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), are some of the critical areas where the government’s “serious action” was required.

“The major challenge in front of the government is to stimulate demand through fiscal measures to bring consumers back into the market,” FICCI president Harsh Pati Singhania said, unveiling his chamber’s 100-day agenda for the government.

“Serious action on the part of the government is critical in sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, divestment, financial sector, education and housing and real estate,” he told reporters here.

This was the only way, he said, the country’s economic growth can be restored to the 9 percent level seen between 2005-06 to 2007-08 against the 6.7 percent growth registered during 2008-09.

“Agriculture is also top on our agenda as it generates highest employment,” he said. “India requires a second green revolution.”

Singhania also underlined the need for speedy action to ensure passage of some pending bills in parliament covering pension, banking, drugs, commodity futures and re-forestation.

CII president Venu Srinivasan said focus was equally important on lowering the government’s fiscal deficit and lowering interest rate, while also recommending printing of more currency to help government borrowing.

As the economy was going through a crisis, government must take steps that will promote employment and growth across key sectors like agriculture, industry and services, and drive investment in infrastructure and manufacturing.

“Our recommendations are targeted at supporting government initiatives in that direction,” said Srinivasan, adding divestment of equity in state-run units was also high on their list of recommendations.

“I feel all major profit-making public sector including the State Bank of India, NTPC and those with the railways can go for divestment, which is the best way to handle the high fiscal deficit.”

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