Talks with Manmohan Singh positive, say business leaders

New Delhi, July 30 (ANI): After meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, business leaders of the country said that their discussions were productive as both sides gave an insight into plans to combat the falling rupee, restraining gold imports and enhancing foreign investment in the country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met some of the country's leading industrialists and top bankers on Monday at his residence in New Delhi, as part of the Council on Trade and Industry.

India head of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Naina Lal Kidwai said that suggestions were given by key leaders on steps that would lead to the mitigation of the present problems of the country's economy.

"The current account deficit, there were many ideas around imports and how imports can be contained, how we need to invest in the longer run to contain imports and short term measures and equally on actions that we need to have in terms of the rupee. Steps that have been taken right now clearly are effective, they have reduced liquidity but we also have to unwind this and how this is unwound and the impacts therein, also have to be taken into account," said Kidwai after the meeting.

Commenting on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Kidwai stressed on the need to secure the country's investment sector by paving a way for overseas companies to trust the Indian market and invest.

"We do believe that there is a lot of interest from foreign companies to invest in India. But we have to ensure that the environment here is positive and indeed the foreign companies (and) multinationals that operate in India already are probably easier for us to tackle. (They will help us) understand what these issues are and why they are not investing more. And therefore (they) have then become the ambassadors for what we want in terms of the India story to be published," she added.

Recently, the Manmohan Singh-led government eased FDI rules for several industries, including insurance, telecom, and the defence sector.

Meanwhile, President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Rana Kapoor welcomed the efforts of the central bank to reduce the uncertainty in the market.

"With the dip in gold prices by 27 to 28 percent internationally, we expect a slight easiness in gold imports. The short term measures of India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to tackle current account deficit are fruitful. The rupee has stabilised a bit reducing the uncertainty in the investment environment and capital markets," said Kapoor.

The meeting came a day before the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would take a call on the interest rates at the first quarterly review of the monetary policy for this financial year.

Amongst those who attended the meeting Chanda Kochhar, Mukesh Ambani, Deepak Parekh, Narayana Murthy, Rahul Bajaj, Azim Premji, Deepak Parekh, Jamshyd N. Godrej, Swati Piramal, S. Gopalakrishnan, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Venu Srinivasan and Sunil Kant Munjal were present.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C. Rangarajan, among others were also present at the high-level meeting that reportedly lasted for 160 minutes.

The rupee had strengthened to 58.69 against the dollar after the RBI unveiled its measures on July 15, but has not closed below 59 since then. The falling rupee still stays within sight of the record low of 61.21, which was hit earlier this month. (ANI)