Banks, industry must work together: Sharma


Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said on Wednesday that industrialists and banks should engage in meaningful dialogue to facilitate investment and growth. The minister also asked banks to lend to small entrepreneurs, artisans and weavers at affordable rates.

Speaking at the FE Best Banks Awards, Sharma said: "Economic activity is not an option but a priority... 2012 has been a terrible year, both globally and domestically, possibly more challenging than 2008, and the recovery is also more difficult." He observed that if economic activity was not re-energised, there would be social repercussions. While pointing out that the fundamentals of the Indian economy remained strong, he said there was fear, mistrust and suspicion.

India should focus on its strengths, he said. "The high savings rate should be channeled into investments."

The minister said the share of manufacturing in GDP should increase to 25 per cent by the turn of the decade, adding that the government has established integrated manufacturing zones to facilitate investments through a single window.

On the union budget, Sharma said the finance minister would have to strike a balance between growth and fiscal discipline. "We must not inhibit investments and job creation. India has no option but to go back to the high growth trajectory of 9 per cent," he said.

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