The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has expressed confidence that the country’s economy will return to high growth trajectory soon, as a result of various measures to contain current account and fiscal deficit and to boost industrial investments. He was addressing the delegates at the Annual General meeting of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Kolkata to commemorate the 160th year of its foundation today (September 14, 2013).
The President also stated that normally the President of India does not attend any functions of Chambers of Commerce but an exception was made to attend today’s function because of his long association with this city and the Bengal Chamber of Commerce which is perhaps the oldest in the country.
The President voiced concern over slow growth of the economy. He said that during 2008-09 the growth rate came down from 9 plus to 6.7 per cent. Thereafter the economy grew at a rate of 8.7 per cent and 9.3 percent during 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively. He said that there has been a slump as the world economy did not fully recover from down trend of 2008-09. ‘Our economy is going through a difficult phase due to the slowing down of world economy and persistent crisis in Euro zone; but there is no room for gloom and despondency’, he added. Our growth scenario has had a chequered history since 1951 to 1979 when the growth rate 3.5 per cent which gradually increased to 7.9 per cent during last decade despite three extremely bad years since 2008-09, the President stated. He attributed this to certain fundamentals of the Indian economy but underlined the need for corrective measures to address the problem of rupee depreciation, high inflation, slow employment generation etc. He expressed his confidence regarding the recovery of India’s economy because of record production in agricultural sector and also the new manufacturing policy which envisages manufacturing sectors to increase its contribution from 15-16 per cent to 25 per cent of GDP. He stated that government has passed certain legislations to instill confidence among investors and indicated many more in due course.
Referring to the strategic location of West Bengal being the gateway of trade and commerce to East/North east of India and the South East Asia, the President urged the Chamber of Commerce to utilize the opportunities in Asian countries which can provide new vistas to boost our economy.
The President also unveiled a plaque of the Chamber commemorating the occasion. Other dignitaries attended the function were Governor of West Bengal, Shri M.K. Narayanan and President of Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Shri Kallol Dutta.