With Left gone, ICICI’s Kamath says it’s time for reforms

July 9th, 2008 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

London, July 9 (IANS) India’s most powerful private sector banker says the coalition United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, now without the support of Left parties, should seize the opportunity and roll out the second tranche of economic reforms. “A lot of people are saying that the government has this unique opportunity now to press on with the remaining economic reforms,” ICICI Bank chairman K.V. Kamath said on the sidelines of an awards ceremony here Tuesday.

“I am sure once the prime minister is back he will begin to look at the economic reforms agenda,” he told IANS.

Asked what kinds of reforms he would like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to pursue, Kamath said financial sector reforms would top his own wish-list.

Within that, he said, he would like the prime minister to consider liberalising the insurance sector further.

Liberalisation of the insurance sector, an important part of the UPA government’s economic agenda, has been a politically sensitive issue because the Left strongly opposed it.

A government move to raise foreign direct investment ceiling in the insurance sector from 26 to 49 percent was vetoed by the Left.

India’s trading partners in the developed world have also been calling for financial sector reforms, saying a further tranche of liberalisation was necessary to maintain the momentum of India’s economic growth.

Kamath was attending a CNBC TV18 Emerging India Award ceremony for small and medium Indian enterprises.

Among others present were Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and ArcelorMittal chief executive Lakshmi Nivas Mittal.

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