ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Out of Focus

Out of Focus THERE are clear indications today that the proponents of the reform process are themselves beginning to feel anxious about the inability of the reform process to revive the depressed economy. Speaking at the annual conference of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on June 19, union finance minister P Chidambaram sought to argue that the present slow-down in the economy was a result of the P V Narasimha Rao government's "single-minded pursuit of inflation control in the run up to the general elections". Expanding on the theme, Chidambaram said that the current slow-down resembled the slow-down in 1995-96: arding to him, there was a slow-down in exports, investments, disbursements by banks and financial institutions all of which were visible in early 1996. Chidambaram went on to add that the economic slow-down was attributable to a decline in agricultural production and the resultant fall in consumer demand, as also a sharp drop in public investment; thanks to a huge fiscal deficit and large public borrowing, the government could not find money to make public investments, he averred. Interestingly, he has also found virtue in public investment in agriculture; during the Eighth Five-Year Plan period, while private investment in agri-culture rose by 8.9 per cent, public expenditure fell by 1.13 per cent; for Chidambaram all of these meant that a moving and vibrant economy had to go slow.

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