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No need to panic over slowdown as fundamentals are strong: FM

PTI  New Delhi, June 06, 2012
First Published: 21:48 IST(6/6/2012) | Last Updated: 21:50 IST(6/6/2012)

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said economic slowdown is a matter of concern but there is no need for panic, and reverting to high growth path is achievable as India's fundamentals are strong.

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"Though it is a matter of great concern that there is a slowdown in the GDP growth rate besides having higher current account and fiscal deficit, there is no need to press the panic button," an official statement quoted Mukherjee as saying.

Stressing that fundamentals of the economy are strong, the Minister said he is "fully confident that the objective of taking the economy back to the path of higher growth, maintaining moderate rate of inflation, narrowing down the gap of current account deficit and restricting the fiscal deficit to 2 per cent of GDP are very much achievable".

At a time when the country is facing various challenges in the wake of continued global uncertainty particularly the eurozone crisis, Mukherjee said he has full faith in the resilience of the Indian economy to overcome successfully such challenges.

After registering 8.4 per cent growth during 2009-10 and 2010-11, India's GDP expansion slowed to nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in the last financial year.

The Finance Minister was addressing a conference of Chairpersons of Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunals (DRATs) and Presiding Officers of Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) here.

In financial crisis, he said, role of DRTs is more important in helping out banks to deal with the mounting NPAs as they are the part of mechanism for recovery of loss assets.

Mukherjee pointed out that there is need to increase the pace of disposal of cases by DRTs.

About 67,000 cases involving an amount of Rs. 136 lakh crore were pending in the Tribunals as on March 31, 2012.

Pendancy of cases is a matter of "great concern", he said.  He further said that steps are being taken to remove the bottlenecks and thereby improve the performance of the DRTs.

He asked participants to suggest ways and means to expedite the unlocking of resources of various banks locked in the form of non-performing assets (NPAs).

There can be no lending unless there is recovery, he said, while pointing out that banks are facing problem of increasing NPAs which needs to be addressed on priority.

He said that the Government has advised the Bankers to closely monitor their NPAs.


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