Govt hints at lowering interest rates

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New Delhi, Jan 11 (UNI) The government today hinted at lowering the interest rates to keep the country's industrial growth northward, as it dipped to 5.3 per cent in November 2007 from 15.8 per cent during the corresponding period in 2006.

The growth in April-November 2007-08 declined to 9.2 per cent from 10.9 per cent in the same period a year ago.

''I do not see this as a slowdown but I see this as a signal to relook at consumer spending and may be loosening a little bit.

We will have to ensure that the industries keep growing and see that consumer spending is not completely deflated,'' Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told reporters here.

He said a balance should be maintained between growth and inflation. ''It is a tight rope walk and calibration has to be done carefully.'' The index of the six core infrastructure industries dipped to 5.3 per cent (Provisional) in November 2007 even as production of crude petroleum declined to 0.3 per cent.

The index of six core infrastructure industries, with a combined weight of 26.7 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 1993-94, stood at 233.3 (Provisional) in November 2007 and the growth dipped to 5.3 per cent (Provisional) compared to 9.6 per cent in November 2006, according to an official statement.

During April-November 2007-08, the six core infrastructure industries registered a growth of six per cent (Provisional) as against 8.9 per cent during the corresponding period of the previous year.

On being asked about the decline in industrial production, Mr Nath expressed hope saying, ''on an annualised basis, it will be made up. We have some moments of ups and downs in manufacturing.'' UNI SBA SR KN2013

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