Indian Economy Needs Strong Medicine To Ward Off Chinese Flu: ASSOCHAM

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As the world looks up to India to provide a leadership role in pushing global economic growth, the government has no option but to make some big bang announcements in the forthcoming Budget to resurrect investment in the public projects, or else the Indian economy can soon catch up the Chinese flu with serious consequences, apex industry body ASSOCHAM said today.

Indian Economy Needs Strong Medicine To Ward Off Chinese Flu: ASSOCHAM
"With major multilateral institutions like the IMF and big economies such as the US, Japan, Germany and the UK all betting high on India being saviour of the international economy, stakes are too high for us not to let them and ourselves down," said Mr Sunil Kanoria, president of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) while addressing a press conference along with chamber's national secretary general, Mr D.S. Rawat in Kolkata.

"While we are surely reaping the benefit of a big fall in oil prices, as much as 75 per cent in the last 18-20 months, we have enough challenges in terms of checking capital outflows from the stock market, grappling with deflationary trends with a number of areas and a huge setback to the exports," said Mr Kanoria.

He said that although an ASSOCHAM Bizcon Survey has polled corporate India's views which expect things to improve in the next two quarters, "We cannot take it for granted and need to work really hard on all fronts."

"To my mind, the Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley should become much more upfront in re-capitalising the stress-ridden banks, find off-Budget financial models for funding big time infrastructure projects and give a boost to the crisis-hit rural economy. Besides, we have to raise substantially allocations for health and education, if we are serious about developing our human resource," added the ASSOCHAM chief.

Besides, all-out efforts should be made to get the Goods and Services Tax Constitutional Amendment Bill passed in the Parliament, Mr Kanoria said, appealing to the Congress President Ms Sonia Gandhi to support the important reforms measure, which alone can make a huge difference to the business sentiment.

He said as the entire global economy is on the edge and India may also get a big hit like other emerging economies, the government should certainly not implement the seventh Pay Commission because it would not only ruin the health of the Central fiscal structure but also the states which require large allocations for Planned development.

"Let the Pay Commission be staggered over the next few years, or else the benefits derived out of the cut in subsidy on oil, LPG and fertiliser would be wiped off by the extra salary bill," further said Mr Kanoria.

The ASSOCHAM President said, "Given the perilous state of financial markets, raising money through disinvestment would be quite difficult for the government, which then is also expecting banks to get some re-capitalisation from the market which is going through one of the most tumultuous times."

"With the nominal GDP likely to stay muted next year as well, the tax revenue targets cannot be set at ambitious level, while there would be lot more demand for pushing investment. That is why off-Budget innovative financial models like the Railways have to be found," he added.

On West Bengal, Mr Kanoria said the state is making great efforts to attract investment by promising land and improving ease of doing business.

"However, these are difficult times for the private sector which is over-leveraged and is going about in a cautious way. On the other hand, right type of FDI can be attracted from countries like Japan in infra projects such as expansion of the Metro Rail in the state capital like Delhi. Besides, the state needs a few model projects which can lead the way for others," said the ASSOCHAM chief.

He said ASSOCHAM would like to work with the state government for attracting fresh investments and act as an effective intermediary between the state and the industry.

Read more about: economy, assocham
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