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RBI could have given stronger growth signal: Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia appreciated RBI's decision to cut key interest rate, but added that the central bank could have given a more robust signal to the industry.

BT Online Bureau | March 19, 2013 | Updated 19:55 IST

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia appreciated the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) decision to cut key interest rate by 0.25 per cent, but added that the central bank could have given a more robust signal to the industry.

"This (rate cut) is a signal and I have to say that it is in the right direction", he said, while addressing an Assocham conference in New Delhi.

"We are looking at it with unhappiness. We feel, the signal should have been stronger... Many people would say that the signal should have been more robust than 25 basis points", Ahluwalia said while commenting on RBI's decision to cut short-term (repo) rate by 0.25 per cent to 7.5 per cent to boost growth.

"I am glad that RBI has signalled continuing reduction of the rate," he said, adding the macro economic situation has started turning around for the better.

According to Ahluwalia, if everything goes well on the economic growth front for the next three months, then one can say that the economy will be back on higher growth trajectory in the long run.

He opined that the $1 trillion investment target in the infrastructure sectors with half of it coming from private sector, for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), is an ambitious number.

As per his assessment, the investment in infrastructure in 12th Plan could be $900 billion with half of it coming from private sector.

He explained that the targeted $1 trillion investment in infrastructure for the current Plan period would mean a debt component of $700 billion debt component and the financial institution would have to think on financing all of that.

On the criticism over public private partnership (PPP) projects, he said user charges is very crucial for these projects but those should be imposed in a transparent manner.

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