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April 15, 1999
Save Sinha's Budget, shun power play, industry urges political parties
Expressing concern at the ongoing political uncertainty at the Centre, leading business chambers today called upon political parties to ensure smooth passage of the 1999-2000 Finance Bill and other economic legislations in Parliament.
Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India president K P Singh urged the political class to keep the country's larger economic interest above politics.
It is time to rise above narrow and myopic gains and save the Budget proposals. For they have been acclaimed as pragmatic in the prevailing economic milieu by industry and economists alike, Singh said in his appeal.
Such political developments are inevitable in a democratic set-up, but the day's events could not have been more ill-timed, he added.
As such, saving the Budget proposals and giving the right signals to the domestic and foreign investors of the continuity of economic reforms has assumed a new sense of urgency at this critical juncture, he stressed.
If the Budget proposals lapse and the Finance Bill is not adopted, a number of vital economic legislations will not be taken up.
Singh emphasised the need to amend or enact the Money Laundering Bill, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, the Insurance Regulatory Authority Bill and the Industrial Disputes Act.
Punjab, Haryana and Delhi Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ashok Khanna urged the political leaders to adopt the Finance Bill. Political parties need to focus on economic agenda and pass crucial economic bills pending before Parliament.
The political uncertainty has come just at a time when the economy in general and the capital market in particular were showing signs of recovery. The sooner the uncertainty is dispelled, the better it would be for the economy, he added.
The Confederation of Indian Industry has also called upon political parties to adopt the Finance Bill. CII president Rajesh Shah said national consensus amongst all political parties is the need of the hour. This will safeguard key economic factors, such as investment climate, the feel-good factor, the exchange rate, the ongoing process of capital expenditure by government and its various agencies, and indeed the implementation of the various proposals in the Union Budget.
Indian Merchants Chambers president Y P Trivedi has appealed to the parties to let rationality prevail and save the country from political and economic brinkmanship.
He said elections loom over a weak economy. Narrow political considerations seem to triumph over long-term economic interests, he said.
A pro-growth Budget and a pro-exports Exim Policy have warmed the cockles of industry, but the fluid political situation is dampening the market sentiment, he observed.
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