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FICCI unveils 100-Day Action Agenda for new gov
May '09
Even as the new Council of Ministers knuckles down to the task of conducting serious government business, FICCI has set before it an Action Agenda to address the triple challenge of restoring economic growth to the 9% mark, ensuring national security and improving governance at all levels.

The task before the Prime Minister and his colleagues is formidable but achievable, says Mr. Harsh Pati Singhania, President, FICCI. “Clearly, the government needs to take definite action on six major fronts, namely, embark on an investment-led growth strategy through higher public and private sector investments; stimulate demand through fiscal measures to bring consumers back into the market; launch a second green revolution; announce major initiatives on skill development and human resource enrichment; significantly enhance national security and drastically improve governance,” he says.

Unveiling FICCI's 100-Day Action Agenda as a news conference here today, Mr. Singhania said, the restoration of economic growth to 9% would entail serious action on the part of the government is critical sectors such as Agriculture, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Disinvestment, Financial Sector, Education, and Housing and Real Estate

Additionally, the FICCI President underlined the need for expeditious action to pass the pending economic Bills in Parliament. These Bills include: the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2005, the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2005, the Drugs (Control) Repeal Bill, 2006, the Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2008 and the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2008.

The following are the highlights of FICCI's 100-Day Action Agenda to bring about an economic resurgence along with financial inclusion for all.

The average annual growth in the 80s was 5.7%. During 1990-2005, it rose to 6.0%. Then followed a period of sustained high growth of 9% plus up to the year 2007-08. However. According to RBI's projection, India's growth in 2008-09 is expected to be around 6.5% - 6.7%. Restoration of the growth trajectory to the 9% level calls for concerted and multi-pronged action on several fronts.

The sector contributes just 18% to GDP but the livelihood dependence on agriculture is above 58%. To sustain the growth momentum there is a need to:

• Give incentives to private sector. Treat 150% of investment by private sector in agri infrastructure chain as deductible expenditure like in case of R&D
• Give a new framework for risk management in agriculture: provide multiple risk management instruments such as crop and weather insurance, storage and warehouse receipt facilities

The average growth of the sector from 1991-92 up to 2007-08 has been around 7%. However, to ensure that the economy grows by 9%-10%, the manufacturing sector needs to grow at least by 12%-14%.
• Interest rate should be brought down to 8%-10%. The spread should not exceed 3% for SME loans

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