Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday assured India Inc. that sufficient and affordable credit, a key input for increased economic activity, would be made available to industry. He also asked the country’s top business leaders to be sensitive about the impact of the economic slowdown on the common man.
Singh was addressing a gathering of leading industrialists he had invited to discuss measures to lift the country out of the economic slowdown and to seek inputs to firm up India’s position at the G-20 Summit in London on April 2.
“Public sector banks have reduced their prime lending rates by 150-200 basis points (100 basis points make one percentage point) over the last three months, but other scheduled commercial banks are yet to respond in equal measure.
“Given the comfortable liquidity position and low inflation, there is scope for a further moderation in interest rates. Domestic credit flow for productive needs definitely has to be maintained at reasonable cost,” he said.
Reminding India Inc. of its obligations to society, he said: “We need to be particularly sensitive to the impact of the slowdown on the weakest in the organised as well as the unorganised sectors. We must meet the challenge of job losses caused by the slowdown.”
The PM added that he had great faith and confidence in India’s entrepreneurs and “particularly in the wisdom and experience of the captains of industry assembled here today”.
The meeting was attended by, among others, Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman, A.V. Birla Group, K.V. Kamath, chairman, ICICI Bank, Sunil Mittal and others.
India Inc., for its part, sought an urgent reduction in interest rates.