Page 6 - IACC Newsletter August-September 2013 Issue 13

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From the Secretary General’s Desk
Dear Members,
The recent statement by the Union Finance Minister that it is time to reduce the interest rate is a welcome step and
signals that growth is slowly getting back on track. Yet, there is no denying that the signals are very fragile and the steps
contemplated should be cautious and well calibrated. The final call on interest rate will be taken by the RBI sooner or
later.
The Finance Minister’s statement is borne out of the fact that the slew of reforms taken by the government can bear
results only by creating an investment climate. The high interest regime forced the investors to put their investment
plans in a limbo in view of the high cost and a slackening demand profile. One only hopes for a normal demand push,
particularly for the industrial and consumer goods, which can translate into higher overall growth. Yet, there are still a
lot of uncertainties that must be addressed. Price line, particularly in food items, is not put under a tight leash.
Vegetable prices still ruling high in many mandis despite the onset of winter. Crops have been destroyed in
Seemandhara and Telegana region on account of the natural calamities like Hud Hud. Preparedness is the best way to
ward off the possible consequences. We have to identify crops and items that will be in shortage and take proactive
steps for importing them well in time to ward off the impact on the price line.
A stable government, economists say, is a critical factor that can fuel growth. The predictions of rating agencies, to a
large extent, depend on policy stability and good governance. We do have stability all round and it is time to capitalize
and consolidate on that. We have to have incremental reforms along with policies that will safeguard the interest of the
common man. The government has a long list of such programs. Some of them like financial inclusion program, village
adoption, Swach Bharath etc. have already been announced. Programs related to health, employment, interconnectivity
and cleaning up of rivers and water bodies etc. are on the anvil. Implementation of these projects needs huge resources.
It is important to find new avenues for mobilization of resources. We should not depend on the conventional approach
that the resources should come from taxing people. That will be unproductive particularly when the economy has not
yet recovered fully. The government will have to come out with schemes that lay emphasis on mobilization of resources
from other sources. Disinvestment of PSUs is one route. We can rope in large resources from this and at the same time
make their functions more corporatized.
In September we hosted our 45
th
Annual General Meeting in Mumbai. We were privileged to have with us Chief Guest
Dr. Gurdial Singh Sandhu, I.A.S., Secretary – Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, who delivered
an address on “Financial Inclusion”. In his address, Dr. Sandhu discussed the different elements of the financial inclusion
program; elements which will not only mobilize our economy by roping in previously ignored masses, but will also help
generate large monies for purposes of investment in infrastructure, manufacturing, services, and training.
We also held our 10
th
Indo-US Economic Summit in New Delhi this past month, which explored avenues for mutual
cooperation in sectors such as aviation and defense, cyber security, education & skill development, hospitality and
tourism, ecommerce, media & entertainment, international trade, and laid a special emphasis on the Services sector.
This year’s theme “Convergence and Connectivity in Indo-US Economic Relations” was fashioned to identify spaces
where India and the US can work collaboratively towards achieving some of the goals forged jointly by the Governments
of both countries. For more information, I invite you to read this issue of our newsletter. The latest in Indo-US Business
and trade news and a list of our forthcoming events are also covered in this issue.
With regards, Atul Vyas,
Acting Secretary General