Desperate to reverse the slide in the economy, the government on Monday promised more reforms in the next two to three months even as top industrialists told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that “brave and bold” steps were needed to get delayed projects started, spur investments, spin jobs and multiply income.
Singh, who asked industrialists to “remove the mood of pessimism,” met his Council of Trade and Industry, an advisory body comprising leading industrialists, to discuss steps to tone up the economy amid concerns that the government wasn’t doing enough to remove investment hurdles.
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy, Wipro chairman Azim Premji, Bajaj Group chairman Rahul Bajaj, former HUL India chairman MS Vindi Banga, and chiefs of leading industry chambers-Ficci’s Naina Lal Kidwai, CII’s S Gopalakrishnan and Assocham’s Rana Kapoor – among others, attended the meeting.
Industrialists also sought a moratorium on loan repayment for delayed projects, give out “pre-cleared projects and sought easier foreign investment norms.
Finance minister P Chidambaram, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and chairman of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council C Rangarajan were also present at the meeting.
Goplakrishnan urged the government to float issue long-term sovereign-guaranteed bonds to raise dollars from overseas investors.
The meeting, which took place on the eve of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monetary policy, also discussed in detail the how measures such as retrospective taxation of corporate deals had hurt India’s image as an investment destination.