PM asks India Inc to desist from large scale lay-offs

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New Delhi, Nov 3 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked industry not to resort to large scale lay-offs, while undertaking other cost-cutting measures and enhance productivity to combat the impact of the global economic crisis on India.

''While every effort needs to be made to cut costs and raise productivity, I hope there will be no knee-jerk reaction such as large scale lay-offs, which may lead to a negative spiral,'' Dr Singh told a meeting he had with top industry leaders here.

The Prime Minister's remarks have to be viewed in the context of an ASSOCHAM survey which projected that industry is planning a 25 per cent job cut in view of the industry slowdown. While the Report was latter withdrawn by the chamber, but its imprint on the public mind remains.

Besides, the decision of Jet Airways to lay off 1,900 jobs created a huge public outcry. It was withdrawn only after MNS Chief Raj Thackery threatened that he will stop all flight of the airways to Mumbai.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram rebuffed the Report on the very next day it appeared, saying the economy, which is likely to grow at seven per cent, slower than the targeted eight per cent annual GDP growth, was a job creating economy and not one which destroys employment.

It was today the turn of the Prime Minister to cajole the captains of industry to refrain from large scale job cuts.

Sources say with Assembly elections later this month and General Elections early next year, these events can be a source of embarrasment to the Government.

The Prime Minister said asked the industry to bear in mind its ''societal obligations'' in coping with the effects of this global crisis.

Apart from the heads of three apex chambers -- FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM -- nearly 10 captains of industry attended the meeting.

They include DLF Chairman K P Singh, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) Chairman Anil Ambani, Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Enterprises Ltd Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Mahindra&Mahindra Ltd Vice- Chairman Anand G Mahindra, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh and ITC Chairman Y C Deveshwar.

The Prime Minister has convened the meeting at a time when the world economy is going through an unprecedented crisis which started in the financial sector in the US but has now spread globally, and is likely to be more severe and prolonged.

UNI MP SBA HT1835

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