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PM does some pep talk to spur India Inc’s confidence

Admitting the economic slowdown, Singh said, ‘For a variety of reasons, government decision-making has slowed down. One reason is a hesitation on the part of officials to take some critical decisions.’ In the same course of his address, he asserted, ‘A corrective strategy must be based on a correct analysis of the problem. Our growth has slowed down to 5 percent, which is clearly disappointing. But this is not a permanent reduction in our longer-term growth potential.’

Singh said that ‘our economy grew at 8 per cent over the past 10 years. If we go back to 15 years, the average too was 7.5 per cent. This kind of dynamism doesn’t disappear suddenly, and we must prove the prophets of gloom wrong.’

Striking an optimistic note, the Prime Minister said, ‘I propose to strike a contrarian note once again. If the business mood was unduly optimistic in 2007, I think it is unduly pessimistic today. This needs correction. Let me explain. In 2007, I often heard that the government has become irrelevant since the country will grow at 9 per cent no matter what the government does. ‘

‘The consensus today is that unless the government acts swiftly, our growth, which is swiftly decelerating, will be perennially stuck at 5 per cent. Naturally, I welcome the rediscovery on the part of business of the importance of the government,’ added Singh.

Observing that nothing much can be done about the global slowdown, he said, ‘We can only wait for the world to get back to more normal conditions. In the meantime, we have to accept that our exports will be weak and our current account deficit in the balance of payments higher than it should be. We have to learn to cope with these problems.’

Seeking partnerships with corporate India, he acknowledged that ours is a private sector-led economy and promised to reverse the sluggish investment climate in the country. India, he said, must also welcome foreign investment and the government is reviewing the foreign direct investment (FDI )policy to give it a boost.

Explaining the government's stand allowing FDI, he said, ‘In addition to supporting domestic investment, we have to give clear signals that we welcome foreign investment which has a critical role in bringing in modern technology and globalising our economy.’

The Prime Minister further said that the fuel supply — both coal and gas — to power projects has been posing problems. ‘The ministries are working to reach a resolution of these problems in a time-bound manner. I hope we will see results in the next three weeks,’ he said.


INDUSTRY HAILS MANMOHAN’S ‘VERY POSITIVE STATEMENT’


The industry on Wednesday welcomed the statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making a case for speedy and decisive actions to achieve 8 per cent economic growth.

Welcoming the statement, Jindal Steel and Power Chairman Naveen Jindal said: ‘PM has addressed all areas of concern of the industrialists for the economy and he has also said that we shouldn’t be pessimistic, we should be optimistic and if we do the right things, we can easily achieve higher growth rates.

‘I think it will give the industry the confidence it needs to make investments,’ he added.

Chairman of Bajaj Group Rahul Bajaj said: ‘If the prime minister says certain things, you take it seriously. If you don’t take that seriously, who would you take seriously? I think he has made a very positive statement. (PTI)
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