Dec 1, 2008

Business - India Inc welcomes PM as FM

Industry welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking charge of the Finance Ministry after P Chidambaram was appointed Home Minister, saying Singh as Finance Minister is known as architect of reforms that transformed the Indian economy.

Prime Minister directly involved himself in tackling the impact of the global credit crisis on the Indian economy.

Amidst pressure on the exchange rate and crash in the stock market in the wake of the developments in Wall Street, Singh had appointed a committee under his charge to find a way out of the economic challenges.

"At a recent summit, the Prime Minister had listed several initiatives under consideration of the government. These include fiscal measures like expenditure on infrastructure and monetary steps such as interest rates. All these relate to the Finance Ministry, which has come under his charge directly," Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Secretary General Amit Mitra said.

Mitra said Singh is the only one in the government who has served as Finance Minister, RBI Governor and Chief Economic Adviser.

Singh was also Secretary (Economic Affairs) and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said the "industrial confidence would get a boost" with the Prime Minister retaining the charge of the Finance Ministry.

Singh had gone to Washington to attend the G-20 meeting called by US President George W Bush, where he sought increased role of the developing countries in the new financial architecture after the global downturn.

Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj said he was not worried over the Prime Minister getting burden on account of the extra charge of the Finance Ministry. "We don't have anybody in India who can be the Finance Minister, other than the Prime Minister."

Godrej Group Chairman and Managing Director Adi Godrej said there are right kind of bureaucrats who can assist the Prime Minister, who need not feel the extra burden.

On his expectations from the Prime Minister holding extra portfolio of finance, Godrej said "credit should be liberalised."

He said tax incentives should be given to industry like real estate, construction and automobile, which are been affected by the demand slowdown.