FM targets more reforms

FM targets more reforms

Trashes talk of early polls, sees more executive action in next 2-4 months New Delhi (PTI): Stressing that the UPA-II still pursuing reform agenda, ...

Trashes talk of early polls, sees more executive action in next 2-4 months


New Delhi (PTI): Stressing that the UPA-II still pursuing reform agenda, the Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said the government will take more executive action in the next two to four months. He wanted the opposition parties to cooperate to push through the bills in Parliament. He ruled out the theory of early elections, Chidambaram said the government will last its full term and help the country to achieve the projected growth rate of 8 per cent.

"There is much more to be done. The remaining bills have to be passed. There are many more executive actions that have to be taken. Some of these are executive actions which we will take in the next 2-4 months. We will continue to take small significant steps. We will also take forward some big ideas. India's economy will continue to reform," Chidambaram said addressing a conference organised by The Economist.

He sought cooperation of the opposition to ensure passage of the land, insurance and Goods and Services Tax (GST) bills in Parliament. "We want the Land Bill passed; Insurance Bill passed with FDI at 49 per cent. We want the regulators for coal, road sectors in place; we want rail tariff authority in place to fix tariff in railway sector," the Minister said.

The government had taken tough decisions like multi-brand retail, deregulation of petroleum prices and freeing of the sugar sector partially. Chidambaram said there is need to take a relook at the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) caps which were fixed long ago. "We need to open our economy more. We have to give more space for FDI," he said, adding the FDI caps could be removed if found no longer useful.

Two separate committees � under RBI and the Finance Ministry � are looking into various aspects of the foreign investment, including removal or raising of the FDI caps.A Promoting FDI was also essential to deal with the problem of widening Current Account Deficit (CAD), he said, adding it is likely to be below 5 per cent during the financial year 2012-13.

"CAD is indeed high... (it) is more worrying that fiscal deficit. In 2012-13, CAD is expected to be USD 90-94 billion. The satisfying aspect of this is that we have financed it completely without drawing down our reserves. There have been copious inflows," he added.

"If we can conserve oil consumption by 10 per cent, we can save $17 billion. And if we can control our passion for gold, we can save many more billion dollars," he said.

He is confident that the recent initiatives taken by the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) would spur investment activity essentially for promoting growth and job creation.A "CCI had cleared projects in sectors like oil and gas, road and power (envisaging) investments worth $14 billion," he pointed out.

India has potential to grow at 8%: PMEAC New Delhi (PTI): India has potential to grow at 8 per cent without fuelling inflation, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory panel chairman C Rangarajan said on Wednesday.

"If you are going to have a investment rate in the range of 32-35 per cent, I would still say 8 per cent growth rate is potential rate of growth in economy and it is possible to grow at that rate even without provoking high level of inflation," Mr Rangarajan said at India Summit organised by The Economist.

Needs internal system to settle disputes with private sector

New Delhi (PTI): Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia pitched for an internal system by government for settling disputes with private sector players to improve business climate in the country.

"Government should set up internal mechanism (for settling disputes with private sector), if you want to improve ease of doing business. This is a major reform I am talking about", Ahluwalia said at The Economist conference.

According to Ahluwalia, it takes a lot time to settle disputes between government and private players in courts and that about 80 per cent of cases in the courts seem to be of government appeals, including tax cases. He said in this scenario the government should have an agency or an arbitrator for resolving disputes. Ahluwalia said while government can resolve dispute between two public sector companies, why it was not the case with private sector.

He further advocated opening coal mining sector for private players and said, "There is no rationale of keeping coal nationalised when petroleum is not. Petroleum is much more valuable resource and it is not nationalised."

He also stressed on the need to bring more private investment in infrastructure sector to boost India's economic growth. "Certainly, in energy and infrastructure sectors put together, it is totally clear that there is no chance whatsoever of meeting India's infrastructure needs if you rely entirely on public sector," he added.

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