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

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From 50 Years Ago: Foreign Exchange Prospects.

Editorial from Volume X,No 33, August 16, 1958.

The Finance Minister read out a carefully prepared statement in Parliament on the foreign exchange situation. But it was so caref ully worded t hat it did not say any t hing more than what it wanted to say and, therefore, it added little to what is already well known fairly...The figures for import licences outstanding which were placed at Rs 990 crores at the end of September last year and at Rs 864 crores at t he end of March last (Rs 523 crores Government, Rs 300 crores private, Rs 41 crores steel) – these are the figures given in the Planning Commission’s paper on foreign exchange – are now revised to Rs 887 crores as on April 1. The Finance Minister did not give any breakdown of the licences outstanding, nor did he hazard any guess how much would come up for payment this year and how much would fall due in the next financial year...

The note of urgency which is conveyed in so many statements, coming from official quarters, could not surely be explained fully by the decline in exports in the last financial year by some 50 crores to Rs 600 crores for which the Finance Minister himself gave fairly adequate reasons – the American recession and the general sluggishness of the export market. Surely, it is not t he shor t f all in expor t s of t his magnit ude which has created a foreign exchange crisis? That the situation demands open credit and credit for a large amount not tied up to particular projects has been obvious for some time and one can see the urgency for it in the Finance Minister’s statement also, but only if one is prepared to read between the lines.

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