Slowdown a concern, but India’s growth story intact: Pranab

May 16th, 2012 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) Blaming the eurozone crisis for the economic slowdown and the sharp drop in the stock markets, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said India’s growth story was intact and the government was taking measures to revive growth and attract overseas investments.

“Yes, we are concerned that our GDP growth has come down. It will be 6.9 percent in 2011-12, some are saying that it might be even low,” Mukherjee told lawmakers.

Replying to a debate on the Union Budget 2012-13 in the Rajya Sabha, Mukherjee said slowdown in economic growth was a matter of concern but there was no need to press the panic button.

“India’s growth story is intact,” he said.

After a debate, the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament, Wednesday returned the Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill, 2012, to the Lok Sabha.

Mukherjee said crisis in the eurozone, especially in Greece, was causing uncertainty in India and other developing countries as well.

“India cannot ignore the global economic situation,” Mukherjee said while referring to the plunge in stock markets.

The finance minister emphasised that he was not trying to pass on the blame to someone else.

“Don’t think that I am trying to pass on the buck elsewhere. The buck stops at me, I agree. I am owning the responsibility… but we shall have to keep in mind that this is a difficult world,” he said.

Continued sell-off by the foreign institutional investors led to almost two percent slump in the country’s benchmark indices.

The benchmark Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange slumped below 16,000-point mark Wednesday. The Sensex closed 1.83 percent down at 16,030.09 points.

The wide-based Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also closed 1.71 percent down at 4,858.25 points.

The Indian rupee took a severe beating and dipped to a record low of 54.46 to a US dollar.

Mukherjee said he would take austerity measures to bring more fiscal discipline and send a right signal to the market. “I am going to put in some austerity measures. It is important to send a right signal.”

Referring to Vodafone tax row, the finance minister said he welcomed foreign investments but would not allow the country to be a tax haven.

“Yes I want FDI, I have taken a series of measures to FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and FII (Foreign Institutional Investment),” he said.

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