India should restore confidence among people: Jalan

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New Delhi, Nov 25 (UNI) India should restore confidence among people amid the global economic crisis and push for economic growth as inflation is moving southwards, former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan said today.

''At the moment, India's priority is restoring confidence and a stable growth,'' Mr Jalan said on the sidelines of a function here.

Mr Jalan, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, said the easing of inflation and the decline in oil prices have given room for the government to take steps to accelerate the economic growth.

''It is a great blessing for us that our banks are safe, oil prices and inflation have come down,'' he said.

The inflation rate slowed to a five-month low of 8.9 per cent for the week ended November 8, against 8.98 per cent in the previous week.

The international crude oil prices from its peak of 147 dollars a barrel in July has fallen to about 50 dollars a barrel at present.

''This gives us plenty of room to do whatever we need to do,'' the former RBI Chief said.

Mr Jalan was speaking to the reporters after releasing a report on 'Rural Housing in India: Challenges and Opportunities', prepared by economic think tank NCAER and Swiss cement major Holcim.

Asked about the economic growth India can achieve amidst the current slowdown, he said, ''if the economy grows at 7-8 per cent as projected by many government agencies, it would be a comfortable growth.'' He said the Indian banks are safe and the government and the RBI are ''taking all the necessary actions'' to tide over this hour of crisis.

However, he said the banks have granted only one-third of its credit to the corporate sector.

''This means that two-third is still left to be used,'' Mr Jalan said.

The banks could make the credit channels more diverse and put for using the underutilised capacities, he added.

UNI MP SBA RN1821

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