New Delhi : A three-hour formal meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his key ministers handling economy related portfolios on the one side and the top business leaders on the other saw an exchange of government”s expectations and the industry”s wish list for the steps needed to improve the economy.
It emerged that the government wants higher investments from the private sector and the corporates want an interest rate cut as well as speedier clearance of projects.
At the end of the meeting on the theme- ”Recent Global Events: Opportunities for India”, Prime Minister Modi called upon India Inc to catalyse their risk taking abilities.” Since you regard this as a great opportunity for India, it is for India”s private sector also now to increase their own investments. Conventionally, compared to others, the private sector has greater risk taking ability because their entrepreneurship emanates out of risk taking,” he said.
He emphasised on low cost manufacturing and observed that the strength of the Indian economy lies in its huge human resource, size of domestic market and the fact that it is not entirely export dependent. He also suggested that small and medium enterprises sector could use MNERGA funds and become a possible tool for skill development. In a similar way, the new Mudra Bank can support the unorganised sector, he added.
After the meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government was looking at different steps to strengthen the Indian economy, and he promised that the GST bill would also be rolled out. He informed that 27 participants spoke at the meeting and it was observed that India is relatively untouched from global crisis, except the transient impact on markets.
Speaking for the industry FICCI president Jyotsna Suri said: “Prime Minister said this is an opportunity for us to take advantage and invest…cost of capital is too high but I don”t know how many people can go ahead to take risk and invest…many of us raised the issue of interest rate.” During the course of the meeting, industry leaders pressed for an interest rate cut and more policy action to improve ease of doing business. The rate cut would help them take risks and scale up investments.
Investors and corporates have been worried about the slow pace of reforms and annual growth slowing to 7 per cent in the June quarter. But the government predicts that the economy will grow at 8 per cent or more in 2015/16, prodded by its higher spending. However, private investment has been slow to pick up, with banks and businesses hobbled by bad debts and high lending rates. Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan chief economic adviser Arvind Subramaniam were among the officials who attended the meeting.
The ministerial team comprised cabinet ministers Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu and ministers of state Jayant Sinha, Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman.
The industry leaders included Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata Group head Cyrus P Mistry, Aditya Birla Group head Kumar Mangalam Birla, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Airtel and ITC chief Y C Deveshwar, Adani group chairman Gautam Adani, Wipro boss Azim Premji, Sun Pharma CMD Dilip Sanghvi, IL&FS chairman Ravi Parthasarathy and TVS Capital”s Gopal Srinivasan.
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