Govt to set up high-level group to address industry’s woes

Govt to set up high-level group to address industry’s woes


New Delhi: Government will set up a high-powered committee to ensure the problems faced by the industry, including liquidity crunch and high interest rates, are resolved and the impact of the global credit crisis on the Indian economy is minimised and job cuts are avoided.

“It (committee) may be headed by either Prime Minister or Finance Minister," Commerce Secretary G K Pillai told reporters after the industry leaders raised a host of issues in a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia are likely to be on the committee.

Pillai said the government would react “positively" to the suggestions made to revive the housing and construction sectors, which were prime drivers of the economy.

Assocham President Sajjan Jindal, who was present in the meeting, said that the Prime Minister is setting up a group to see that “this fear (job cuts) is not there and to see that there is no reduction in job creation."

Business leaders are concerned over the plunge in industrial growth to 1.3% in August from a high of 10.9% in the same month a year ago, mainly on account of poor performance by the manufacturing sector which expanded by a mere 1.1%.

For the five month period (April-August 2008-09), the industrial production growth rate stood at 4.9%, down from 10% during the corresponding period last year.

Under the impact of a slowdown in major economies, India’s exports growth has also declined to 10.4% in September this year after showing a impressive expansion of over 35% for the April-August period.