Interest rate needs to be lower, acceptable, stable: President

KOLKATA, Jan 20: With strong macros and inflation in check, President Pranab Mukherjee today pitched for “stable, lower and acceptable” interest rate to attract prospective investors to West Bengal in particular and India in general.
The country’s current account deficit has shaped up because of “prudent” fiscal management and the economy has been growing in the past decade despite 2008 global financial crisis, he said.
Addressing the third edition of Bengal Global Business Summit here, Mukherjee said: “Inflation is well under control. All the parameters and study suggest that there should be a lower, acceptable and stable interest rate which will encourage prospective investors in India, particularly in the state.”
The country’s fiscal deficit and also the current account deficit have “improved substantially”, he said.
All macro-economic parameters are “strong” because of prudent fiscal management, investor-friendly policies and comfortable external factors despite the fact that the traditional export market has shrunk, the President said, noting that the country however has been able to capture other export markets in Asia.
Stating that India’s economy has shown resilience in the past 10 years, the President spoke of how India’s economy has grown consistently despite the impact of 2008 global financial crisis.
“It has grown at 7.6 per cent per annum despite the fact that there was 2008 financial crisis, which had a setback on all developed economies. It was followed by euro-zone crisis. The World Bank and IMF had to revise growth projection and they had downgraded,” he pointed out.
Mukherjee further said India too felt the impact of the 2008 crisis which took a toll on the growth rate in 2008-09.
Before the 2008 crisis, the country’s growth was over 9 per cent, “but our average national growth has been 7.6 per cent in the last decade”.
Highlighting efforts of the West Bengal Government to provide an investor-friendly environment, Mukherjee said: “As a finance minister, I know how debt-stressed the state was. Keeping aside those legacy and baggage, it is moving ahead with liberal policies to create an appropriate investor climate.”
He appreciated West Bengal’s reportcard on infrastructure, good road, adequate electricity, skilled manpower and investor friendly policies and hoped that the summit helps the state reach a new high in terms of investment “to occupy its right place which was lost some time back”.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee exhorted investors to invest in the state even as they are facing some problems due to demonetisation.
“Though we are facing some hardships due to demonetisation or remonetisation and some traders and small industries are not able to pay to their workers, we would like to invite investors to invest in our state,” she said.
She highlighted the conducive environment being created in the state for investors. “Before five years, the industry faced loss of mandays. Now, it is zero,” she claimed.
On the first day of the event, two industrialists committed investment of up to Rs 14,000 crore in the next few years in the state.
Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi, State Finance Minister Amit Mitra, top industrialists Sanjiv Goenka, Pankaj Munjal, Rakesh Bharti Mittal and Kishore Biyani as well as cricketer Sourav Ganguly were present at the inaugural event.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, gave the programme a miss.
Bangladesh Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, China’s CPPCC Jaiangsu Provincial Committee Vice-Chairman Fan Yanging, North Rhine West Phalia Vice-Minister Guenther Horzetky, Mayor of Incheon city in Korea YooJeong bok, and Bangladesh Post and Telecommunication Minister Begum Tarana Halim were also in attendance.
The 2-day event is being attended by representatives from over 27 countries and 3,000 overseas delegates. (PTI)