Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday met Finance Ministry officials for the first time after taking over the Finance portfolio and asked the officials to revive the country's struggling economy.
The PM, who is also an economist, has taken over the Finance Ministry from Pranab Mukherjee, who had resigned to contest for the upcoming 14th Presidential elections, and thie happened at a time when the country is facing slowdown in economic growth.
Addressing the officials, the PM stressed the need to revive investor's sentiment.
Here is a brief of his address to the officials:
"I happy to meet all of you in a new context with me looking after the Finance Portfolio once again. Apart from a brief spell in 2008, I have been away from the details and nitty-gritty of Finance for a long time. Therefore, I depend on all of you to give me sound advice on not just matters relating to the Finance Ministry but all aspects of the government and the economy as a whole.
The Finance Ministry is an all-encompassing Ministry whose reach extends to every corner of the government and the nation. The way it functions is critical for the future of millions of our countrymen who look up to the government to throw open channels for their progress, prosperity and welfare.
Therefore, the Finance Ministry has a vital role in evolving economic policies which are conducive to economic growth and the overall welfare of the nation.
At the current juncture, we are passing through challenging times economically. The growth rate has taken a dip; the industrial performance is not satisfactory; things are not rosy on the investment front; inflation continues to be a problem.
On the external front, I am concerned about the way the exchange rate is going. Investor sentiment is down and capital flows are drying up.
There are some external reasons and we need to work towards making our country resilient in meeting these external challenges. However, there are many domestic reasons as well. We need to address these quickly. We need to work to get the economy going again and restart the India growth story.
In the short run, we need to revive investor sentiment, both domestic and international.
There have been many factors that have contributed to this general negative mood. There are problems on the tax front which need to be addressed. On the Financial Sector side, we need to see how we can improve matters. There are issues about the Mutual Funds industry which need to be resolved. The Insurance sector has seen a slowing down which is not normal in a country with large unmet insurance needs. This needs to be looked into. I would like you all to work as a team on all these matters. There are some issues we must address in the short run and some in the long run. I am sure you will be able to work on both fronts.
The Finance Ministry has had a glorious tradition of doing excellent work. I expect the same from you."
Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Kaushik Basu, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Pulok Chatterjee, Secretaries in the Finance Ministry, Mr. R Gopalan, Mr. R S Gujral, Mr. Sumit Bose, Mr. D K MIttal, Mohmd. Haleem Khan and other PMO officials were present at the meeting.