Advani discusses ways to push the economy to double digit growth

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (UNI) As the heat of the global meltdown is beginning to impair every facet of Indian economy, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani today commenced his consultation process with cream of business and industry for taking the national economy to double digit growth.

The three hour long exercise with 15 top industrialists, including feuding Ambani brothers, Rahul Bajaj, R K Dhoot and Sunil Mittal representing range of real economy, discussed range of issues afflicting the Indian economy and the means of finding ways of surmounting the slowdown witnessed in the economy, former Finance Ministers in the previous NDA regime Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh told newspersons after the meeting.

We felt the need for increasing the employment opportunities by adopting a 'big bang approach' rather than an 'unwise gradual and incremental approach adopted by the UPA Government which focussed on the monetary corrections rather than addressing the supply sides of the economy. There was a need to put the economy to a high and sustainable level while ensuring equitable distribution of income, they said.

There was a need to recognise the food problem on a priority basis because it would have impact on the high levels of inflation, a hallmark of the UPA regime, they added.

Mr Sinha said loss of livelihood in the unorganised sector across the country had resulted in loss of confidence in the country where even the banks did not trust one other for lending.

He took exception to the statement of Finance Minister P Chidambaram comparing Mr Advani to defeated Republican Presidential candidate in the recently concluded US Presidential polls. ''Mr Advani is no John Mc Cain but next prime minister of India and he has every right to discuss the national economy with cream of business and industry leaders,'' Mr Sinha said.

It was a revelation that the manufacturing sector had witnessed a 50 per cent slide and there was excess production capacity in India and elsewhere because of fall in the demand. The truck manufacturing had gone down by 50 per cent while almost all auto industry had reduced productions. Concerns were expressed about Chinese attempt to dump its products taking advantage of the situation, the former minister informed.

Mr Sinha said that leaders were appalled about the flight of nearly 66 billion dollars of foreign exchange reserves during the last few months from its peak of 316 billion dollars. If the country doesn't manage the economy properly, the economy would be back to the olden days. The Rupee value had been lost against the dollars so very badly that a dollar was costing Rs 50.50 today, he said.

The meeting agreed that there was a need for recapitalising the Public Sector Banks and boost up the credits available for the agriculture sector. If the Rabi crops did not find credit supplies, it would have impact on the food prices during the harvest, they said.

The industry and business leaders who responded to Mr Advani's invitation included Mr Sajjan Jindal, K V Kamat, Dr Baba Kalyani, Jayaprakash Gaur, G M Rao, Rajiv Chandrashekhar, Venu Srinivasan, Shashi Ruia, Saroj Poddar and Mr Subhsh Chandra.

Besides Mr Advani and Jaswant Singh, the hosts included Mr Sinha, Arun Shourie, Vijay Kapur and S Gurumurthy.

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