FM exudes confidence in capital markets

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New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) Finance Minister P Chidambaram has exuded optimism in the Indian capital markets, saying that their buoyancy testifies to the confidence that has been reposed in them by the investing community.

"With a market capitalisation of 101 per cent of GDP at the end of December 2006, India compares favourably not only with emerging market economies but also with Japan (112 per cent) and South Korea (93 per cent)," Mr Chidamram said in his address yesterday to the Norweigian Schoool of Management.

The theme of the Finance Minister's address was --'India's emergence as an economic power: Road travelled and the way forward.' A copy of Mr Chidambaram's speech was made available here.

Mr Chidambaram said an important feature of the stock markets is the large retail participation. In 2006-07, 8.43 billion dollars was raised in the Indian market through equity and rights issues. In the current fiscal, companies have already raised 7.16 billion dollars.

Assets under management of mutual funds are presently valued at 120 billion dollars.

"The buoyancy of investment, including foreign investment flows testifies to the confidence reposed in India's capital markets", he said.

The Finance Minister said India provides to foreign investors an opportunity that is almost unrivalled."No other country in the world, save perhaps China, needs and can absorb such large amounts of foreign investment in its infrastructure sector," Mr Chidambaram said.

Mr Chidambaram said the Government along with the State governments has made efforts to create a business environment that encourages and facilitates entrepreneurship and business initiative.

The Finance Minister, however, spoke about the formidable challenges that face the country, In this regard, Mr Chidambaram, noted that India ranked low -- at number 126 -- among the countries of the world according to the Human Development Report, 2006.

Besides, many of the Millennium Development Goals appear, at present, "just beyond our reach" by the year 2015.

"We still have many children out of school and many more children do not complete five or eight years of school education. We still have many mothers who deliver babies without institutional care. We still have to reach electricity and roads, drinking water and sanitation, and schools and healthcare facilities to thousands of villages", he said.

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