Business better than perception, says Sunil Mittal

Sunil Mittal
New Delhi, Nov 9: Amid concerns of economic slowdown and policy paralysis, noted industrialist and telecom czar Sunil Mittal today (Nov 9) said "business is better than perception".

Praising the government for its initiatives to deal with the current economic issues, Mittal said, "I have never seen in a long period of time, the finance ministry being so pro-active in looking up issues...informing us what is going on. I want to say business is better than perception."

He said this after meeting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee here.

Disagreeing with some industrialists who had raised concerns over policy paralysis in the government, Mittal, who is the Chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, said, "Well, I think, lots of steps are being taken. I am delighted that very pro-active programmes running here."

Wipro Chairman Azim Premji had recently ctiticised the government for its failure to address the economic issues.

"The biggest concern is over the governance issues. There is complete absence of decision-making among the leaders in the government," Premji had said earlier in the month.

A group of prominent personalities that included Premji, Keshub Mahindra of Mahindra and Mahindra and HDFC's Deepak Parekh, in an open letter to the national leadership had expressed concerns over a series of scams leading to what they termed as "governance deficit".

Mittal, however, sounded more like the head of USD 150- billion multinational company General Electric Jeffery Immelt who had said business was not as bad as the general mood.

"While I am no economist to make a prognosis, what I can say is that the underlying business is better than the mood," Immelt, who was in India last month, had said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too in his remarks at the recent National Development Council (NDC) had warned the nation to shun the mood of negativism.

"We must guard against the mood of negativism that seems to have gripped the country. Recently a distinguished business leader said in India the business is better than the mood," Singh had said.

As regards the economy, the growth rate moderated to 7.7 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal, down from 8.8 per cent in the corresponding period in the previous financial year. This was the weakest growth recorded in the six quarters.

According to the Reserve Bank of India, the economic growth rate during the current fiscal is estimated to decline to 7.6 per cent from 8.5 per cent during 2010-11.

Moderating industrial output and tax collection are too reflecting the impact of the slowing economy. More recently, the exports growth rate has also declined as compared to 40-50 per cent increase witnessed during the earlier months of the fiscal.

As far as inflation is concerned, it has continued to remain high at near double-digit mark despite repeated hike in key policy rates by the RBI. The central bank had increased the rates 13 times since March 2010.


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