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Too preachy for the fin mins taste
September, 04th 2006
Finance minister P Chidambaram and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia seem to differ strongly on what needs to be done to catapult the economy to an 8-9% growth orbit over the next five years. On August 14, Chidambaram wrote to Ahluwalia, questioning fundamental assumptions of the approach to the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12). The finance minister did not accept the Plan panels view that the burgeoning current account deficit (CAD) would hinder economic growth, saying, it was the governments inability to provide a supportive investment climate. According to the Plan panel, the CAD as a percentage of the GDP is likely to grow from 2% to 2.8% as the GDP itself grows 9% from 7% over the five-year period. To contain the risks posed by a higher CAD to balance of payments, it seems to have settled for a GDP growth rate of 8.5%. But the finance ministry thinks insufficient private investment due to a lack of a reforms push, is the main obstacle to growth. Chidambaram questioned the logic that poor demand would inhibit farm growth. It is more supply-side bottlenecks, such as wheat, pulses, sugar and edible oils, which is dragging down agriculture growth, he wrote. Reacting to the Plan panel highlighting lack of credit at reasonable rates to agriculture and the failure of the organised credit system, Chidambaram wrote, it may be useful for the panel to suggest how to strike a balance between adequate credit and cheap credit. In other words, please dont preach. PICK OF THE WEEK Banking The SS Tarapore Committee has proposed that India shift to fuller capital account convertibility in five years beginning this fiscal. In its report submitted to RBI on July 31, the committee recommended the proposed regime be embraced in three phases. Based on this RBI has formed an internal committee to examine the regulations and suggest measures to further ease the rupees convertibility. The panel will submit its report by December. Markets Sebi is planning exemplary action on companies deliberately defying compliance of Clause 49 of the listing agreement on corporate governance. Sebi will seek information from SEs on the status of compliance by the companies since it came into force. Sebi chairman M Damodaran explained that Sebis approach to the implementation of Clause 49 would be to push compliance without sacrificing the interests of investors. Politics Indias High Commissioner to Pakistan Shiv Shankar Menon, was on Thursday named the new foreign secretary. He will succeed Shyam Saran, who has been appointed special envoy for negotiations on the nuclear deal between India and the US. International The world economy will enjoy another solid year of growth next year with expansions in Japan and Europe supporting global demand even if the US slows, said John Lipsky, who next week becomes the no. 2 official at IMF. All signs suggest that growth, though somewhat slower next year, will remain solid and better balanced, said Lipsky, who will become IMFs first deputy MD and its highest ranking US official when he assumes the position.
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