PM meets key advisers, calls for revival of ‘animal spirit’ in economy
PTI NEW DELHI SIGNALLING his keenness to boost the economy a day after taking charge of the Finance Ministry, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday directed urgent steps for revival of investor spirit and reversal of the climate of pessimism with regeneration of “animal spirit”.
Taking stock of the country’s economy in a series of high level meetings here, he identified tax issues, sluggishness in insurance sector and aspects related to mutual funds as problem areas and pressed for quick corrective steps.
The meetings were attended by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan and top Finance Ministry officials.
He will meet RBI Governor D Subbarao and Planning Commission members on Thursday as part of his review of affairs concerning the economy.
Contending that he had been “away from the details and nitty gritty of finance for a long time”, the Prime Minister told officials of the Finance Ministry that there have been many factors that have contributed to the general negative mood being witnessed in the country.
“We need to work to get the economy going again and restart the India growth story,” he said, against the backdrop of slowdown in the GDP growth, which slipped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in the last fiscal.
“Reverse the climate of pessimism..
Revive the animal spirit in the country’s economy,” Singh said, while observing that India was passing through challenging times economically.
He noted that the growth rate has taken a dip, industrial performance is not satisfactory and “things are not rosy” on the investment front while inflation remains a problem.
“In the short run, we need to revive investor sentiment, both domestic and international,” he said.
Talking about the problems, Singh said he referred to the “tax front”, mutual fund segment and slowdown in insurance sector “which is not normal in a country with large unmet insurance needs”.
“This needs to be looked into,” he said but did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, with Government online networks facing threats from hackers, security of sensitive cyber domains will be reviewed at a high-level meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday which will discuss ways to counter such offensives.
The National Security Council (NSC) meeting is expected to decide on the steps to be taken to protect the country’s cyber architecture and designate organisations to counter such offensives, sources said in New Delhi.
The NSC is also expected to designate the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the Defence Ministry for countering cyber offensives against the country, they said. Defence Minister A K Antony and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon are also expected to attend the meeting.
The NSA had recently stated that government was “in final stages” of developing capabilities for providing protection against cyber attacks.
“Government is in the process of putting in place the capabilities and the systems to deal with this archaic new world of constant and undeclared cyber threat, attack, counter-attack and defence,” Menon had said, adding that “the government was preparing a whole-of-government cyber security architecture”.
Several websites and networks of the Government have come under attack from different hacker groups across the globe.
During the Commonwealth Games in 2010, hackers had launched over 8,000 attacks on dedicated networks of the mega event but all of them were thwarted by designated agencies.