PM asks India Inc to chip in for affirmative action

The corporate honchos raised concerns about the possible impact of the European financial crisis on the Indian economy.Singh reviewed the state of economy with Tata, Ambani, Azim Premji, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Swati Piramal, Chanda Kocchar, Deepak Parekh, Kesab Mahindra and Kiran Majumdar Shaw at the first meeting of the newly constituted Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry.

The Prime Minister asked them to form sub-groups on food security, public-private- partnership, backward area development and corporate social responsibility.
"The members held wide-ranging discussions on various issues, including use of clean technology for energy and economic security, R&D to further industrial growth, contribution of industries in food security and affirmative action for social inclusion," a PMO statement said.

Singh was assisted by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and C Rangarajan, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

On the Euro crisis, Rangarajan, noted economist and former RBI governor, assured the members that the problem was small.

"Rangarajan said Greek problem is very small in terms of its impact on Indian economy (but) we have to look after whether Euro is falling or rising which is more important," Piramal who is also Assocham President told reporters.Rupee appreciation in the recent past and its impact on India's exports also figured in the discussions.

She said both the Prime Minister and Finance Minister assured the industry about quick implementation of Goods and Services Tax and Direct Tax Code - the two of the most important tax reforms to be launched in the country.Some of the industry members also sought opening up of the multi-brand retail and defence sectors to foreign investment.
The members expressed confidence that the economy was well on its way to trajectory of plus 9 per cent.

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