PM asks industry to take risks

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing a high-level meeting on the global economic scenario, in New Delhi on September 8
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing a high-level meeting on the global economic scenario, in New Delhi on September 8

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked India Inc to increase risk-taking appetite and step up investments even as industry leaders pressed for interest rate cut and more policy action to improve ease of doing business.

“Prime Minister has said that industry must take risk and increase investments…we must go out and invest. Industry has a role to play,” CII president Sumit Mazumder told reporters after the meeting of Prime Minister with CEOs, bankers, economists and bureaucrats on the global economic slowdown.
Several industry leaders meanwhile pitched for interest rate cut saying it would help them take risks and scale up investments.

Briefing the media after the high-level meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India will be among the lesser impacted countries by the global economic turmoil but the government needs to take steps to strengthen the economy.

Jaitley was briefing the media after the high-level meeting on global economic scenario chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where bankers and billionaires talked about how India can manage global economic turbulence, including opportunities for Asia’s third-largest economy in China’s market and growth woes.

“Most participants felt that we are going through a phase of volatility which might turn to some turmoil on the market. Volatility is the norm of the moment and will result in turmoil in the markets and rupee,” said Jaitley.

“By and large, a major crux of the entire discussion was that in terms of its economy India is relatively untouched. It was suggested that we should take steps to strengthen India’s economy,” he said.
Jaitley said the impact of the global turmoil will be far less on the Indian economy as its fundamentals are reasonably strong.

The minister said issues of ease of doing business, cost of labor and capital and stalled projects were also raised by participants at the meeting. Participants specifically emphasized on two steps – bankruptcy code and anti-corruption – and many of them wanted monetary policy easing by RBI, the minister 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,” Ficci president Jyotsna Suri said.

Assocham president Rana Kapoor said that Prime Minister asked industry to “catalyze risk taking ability”.

He said the issue of capital requirement of banks to meet economic growth and the need to bifurcate bad assets of the banking system came up for discussion.
As far as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation is concerned, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed hope that it would by rolled out, Mazumder said, adding the land bill did not come up for discussion.

The industry leaders who attended the brain storming session with Modi on ‘Recent global events: Opportunities for India’ were 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.-PTI

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