Arab Today, arab today india pm vows to press ahead with economic reforms
Last Updated : GMT 19:53:33
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

India PM vows to press ahead with economic reforms

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today India PM vows to press ahead with economic reforms

New Delhi - AFP

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vowed Saturday to press ahead with reforms to further liberalise the country\'s still inward-looking economy, undeterred by strong political opposition. Singh\'s government announced in September a sudden blitz of reforms designed to open the retail, aviation and broadcasting sectors to more foreign investment and revive an economy in which growth stalled at around three-year lows. \"We will do what is good for the country... reforms are not a one-off process,\" Singh told reporters in New Delhi. The reforms have prompted a coalition ally to pull out of the Congress-led government and a string of protests nationwide. But they have been warmly greeted by business and investors, with the Indian currency hitting a five-month high of 52.49 rupees against the dollar Friday as more foreign investment has poured in. Singh, who was speaking on the sidelines of the swearing-in of India\'s new chief justice, Altamas Kabir, did not outline what new steps he plans, but analysts expect him also to liberalise the insurance and other sectors. The premier had no comment on a report by a government panel late Friday that warned India faced a \"fiscal precipice\" and called on New Delhi to phase out fuel, food and fertiliser subsidies to rein in a ballooning deficit. \"We cannot overemphasise the need and urgency of fiscal consolidation,\" the panel said, warning corrective moves were an \"imperative necessity\" as India\'s \"external payment situation is flashing red lights\". Singh\'s left-leaning government is deeply wary of cutting subsidies, especially on food, in the still heavily poor country of 1.2 billion people, fearing a voter backlash in general elections due in 2014. The panel headed by former Indian finance secretary Vijay Kelkar also called for stepping up sales of stakes in state-owned firmed and revamping India\'s archaic, patchwork tax system that drives up company costs. India could find itself in a worse financial state than during 1991 balance-of-payments crisis when the country teetered on the edge of bankruptcy and was forced to seek a bailout by the International Monetary Fund.

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