Economy to top Parliament agenda: FM

Nov 16 2012, 17:23 IST
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'We sincerely hope that the forthcoming session will be a productive one and many bills will be passed,' says Finance Minister P Chidambaram. 'We sincerely hope that the forthcoming session will be a productive one and many bills will be passed,' says Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
SummaryInsurance, banking, DTC: Chidambaram puts onus on Opposition for 'future of country'.

Ahead of the Winter Session, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said the government is reaching out to political parties to seek their support for passage of important economic bills.

"The Parliament session has a very heavy legislative agenda. We are reaching out to the various political parties to carry through these agenda in the four weeks that we have for the session", he said addressing a press conference here.

The important economic agenda for the Winter Session of Parliament beginning on November 22 includes amendment to the Insurance Bill to raise FDI cap from 26 to 49 per cent, Banking Regulation Amendment Bill and Direct Taxes Code.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram said, had already met supporting parties and would be meeting more allies.

"We sincerely hope that the forthcoming session will be a productive one and many bills will be passed... My suggestion is that not one issue should be blown out of proportion. There are many very important issues that concern the welfare of people and future of country," he added.

The Opposition parties are proposing to corner the government on the issue of opening of multi-brand retail to foreign investors. The government allowed FDI in multi-brand retail through an executive order.

Noting that economy was "challenged", the Minister said the government would be taking steps to revive growth, which slipped to nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2012-13.

"... we are taking number of steps to revive economic growth. Only this morning you have read that Eurozone is formally in recession. We are nowhere near that situation," he added.

Indian economy is still growing at 5.5 per cent, Chidambaram said, adding "second quarter number will be known by end of this month. And I think there will be a pick up in third and fourth quarters." The growth rate in the first quarter of 2012-13 was 5.5 per cent.

The goal, the Minister said, would be to tide over the difficult period and end the year with a reasonably satisfactory note.

Chidambaram said he would endeavour to present a "more balanced budget" for 2013-14 and expressed the confidence that "growth will revive and (we will) move on to high growth track."

Replying to questions on fiscal deficit, the Minister exuded confidence that there was still time and the government would be able to meet the revised target of 5.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

"We still have good time of

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