Concerned over slow growth, but crisis will be overcome: President

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 14, 2013 17:50 hrs

Kolkata, Sep 14 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday expressed concern over the slow growth of the Indian economy, but exuded confidence that the crisis would be overcome through appropriate policy measures and cooperation of all stakeholders.

Mukherjee called for corrective measures, but said there was no room for despondency as the fundamentals were strong.

"There are areas of strength, we should concentrate, and I do believe that with appropriate policy measures and cooperation of all stakeholders, it will be possible to tide over the crisis situation, and we can come back to the path of higher growth trajectory sooner than later," Mukherjee said while addressing a business body here.

Asserting that the difficult economic situation was primarily due to the international financial crisis, the president said it was not possible to keep the country insulated from global developments.

"To run a complex economy and in a more complex international situation if we expect we will not be touched by global developments, perhaps it may not be possible.

"From our past experiences, we can draw out lessons that we shall have to live with adversity., whether it comes from external sector, or whether it comes from domestic developments," Mukherjee said.

The president said: "All of us are concerned about the slow growth of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Precisely it began in 2008-9 as a consequence of the major international financial crisis."

He said there was another slump after two years as the world economy did not fully recover from the downturn of 2008-09.

While emerging markets like India and Brazil made impact on the world trade during the 2008-9 downturn, they also slowed down after the Eurozone crisis of 2011-12.

"India, as a global economy, was no exception. There are areas of concern, but no room for gloom and despondency. As a student of economy and history I have seen our growth scenario has had a chequered history," he said at the annual general meeting commemorating the 160th year of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Pointing out that the Indian economy grew by 7.9 percent on an average between 2003-4 and 2012-13, "despite the extremely bad years", Mukherjee said "these figures speak that certain fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong".

"Corrective measures are necessary. In every country, various economic measures are being taken to suit their own requirements, and try to tackle the situation."

Mukherjee listed the problem areas in the economy as the rapid depreciation of the value of the rupee, high rate of inflation, slow employment generation, and the current account deficit and fiscal deficits emerging beyond the normal prudence.

Refering to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent speech in parliament, Mukherjee said it determined the determination of policy measures to take corrective steps including passage of long-pending important legislations.

Mukherje also hoped the advent of good monsoon would have a sobering impact on the inflation and agricultural growth.

Stressing the need for an integrated approach, he said: "A large number of states have improved substantially their state GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product). The cumulative impact of these on the Indian economy is bound to be healthy."

More from Sify: