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CII seeks big-ticket measures to combat slowdown

By BS Reporter in New Delhi
November 17, 2008 13:29 IST
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The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has asked the government to take a one-time comprehensive measure - fiscal and monetary -  instead of piecemeal steps to restore business and investor confidence.

The industry lobby group, which is discussing the ongoing economic crisis with the government on a regular basis, feels the scenario offers an opportunity to initiate bold measures like removing the foreign investment ceiling in organised retail.

Referring to countries like China taking bold measures, Chandrajit Banerjee, director-general, CII, said, "We need a one-time big hit measure to get out of this (current global financial crisis affecting India)," adding that restoring confidence would bring back economic activity in India.

According to the CII, a large part of India's GDP is accounted for by domestic spending and as long as this is kept strong with additional government spending, the growth momentum can be kept on track.

The CII wants the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reduce the repo rate (the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks), the cash-reserve ratio (the portion of money banks park with the central bank) and the statutory liquidity ratio (the percentage of time and demand deposits banks have to invest in government securities) at the same time.

For CRR and repo, the industry body wants a 1.5 percentage point reduction to 3 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively. It wants SLR at 22 per cent.

On the fiscal front, it asked the government to set up an "infrastructure facilitating and monitoring cell" to speed up road and power projects and to allocate land for low-cost housing. "Spending on infra projects could lift GDP by 2 percentage points," said Banerjee.

The CII said Cenvat credit on capital goods should be increased to 100 per cent in the first year itself from the present level of 50 per cent.

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has estimated Indian economy to register a growth rate of 7.4- 7.8 per cent in the current financial year, as against 9 per cent recorded in the previous fiscal ended March 2008.

A major portion of the lower growth rate is contributed by slowdown in manufacturing activities. But services, which contributes more than 50 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP), are expected to slowdown the least, growing at 9.5- 10 per cent in FY 09, as against 10.8 per cent last fiscal.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that India's GDP will grow by only 6.3 per cent in calendar year 2009. And in 2008, IMF projected a growth rate of 7.8 per cent.  

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BS Reporter in New Delhi
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