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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Govt has not drawn any red line on rupee value, says Montek

PTI  New Delhi , August 25, 2013
First Published: 20:21 IST(25/8/2013) | Last Updated: 20:34 IST(25/8/2013)

In the backdrop of the declining value of India's currency, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Sunday said the government has not drawn any red line on the rupee, which he felt has over depreciated.

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"I don't believe that either the government or the RBI have taken a view that we are drawing a red line on which rupee should be. At the moment, in my view, the rupee is over depreciated," Ahluwalia said in an interview on a tv channel.

Last week, the rupee touched an all time low of 65.56 against the dollar on Thursday but recovered to 63.20 on Friday on Finance Minister P Chidambaram's pep talk and suspected intervention by the Reserve Bank.

The rupee has depreciated over 17 % against the dollar since April-end this year.

According to Ahluwalia, the steps taken by the RBI, including control of capital transfers, were misinterpreted by the markets. Earlier, RBI Governor-designate Raghuram Rajan and Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram had ruled out bringing back capital controls.

Explaining further, Ahluwalia said serious investors look at what authorities say when markets are troubled.

On the possibility of India going to IMF for funds, Ahluwalia said: "(It is) absolutely ridiculous suggestion. The scale of facility you would need to get from IMF is very small compared to the (foreign exchange) reserves you have."  Ahluwalia advocated the use of foreign exchange reserves as a measure to limit the current account deficit (CAD). The government aims to cut it down to USD 70 billion, or 3.7 % of the Gross Domestic Product this fiscal.

"Now in my view, there is no point whatsoever having foreign exchange reserve if you are not going to use them when necessary," Ahluwalia said.

According to Ahluwalia, the CAD would be lower this fiscal than it was in 2012-13 (USD 88.2 billion, or 4.8 % of the GDP), on account of reduced gold imports and there would be a slack in demand of petroleum products due to sluggish economic growth.

On the efforts made by the Cabinet Committee on Investment set up to deal with held up projects, he said the power projects having generating capacity of 78,000 MW would have fuel supply arrangements in place by the end of this month.


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