Measures to boost economy on Monday,says Pranab

Finance Minister to quit on June 26; says RBI governor to announce fresh steps.

Written by RAJIB CHATTERJEE | Kirnahar,birbhum | Published: June 23, 2012 9:37:50 pm

UNION Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s presidential candidate,on Saturday said the RBI Governor would announce on Monday several measures on economic reforms to improve market condition.

“We will be able to take certain measures to be announced on Monday which will improve market condition,” Mukherjee,who will put in his papers as Finance Minister on June 26,told reporters at his ancestral village. He said he would also resign from the Congress,adding that the “President is above all parties”.

Mukherjee,however,refused to divulge details about the economic measures that the RBI chief,who is currently abroad but will return soon,would announce.

Before relinquishing the Finance Minister’s post,Mukherjee tried to allay fears about the country’s financial situation in the backdrop of poor ratings by Standard and Poor and Fitch,the rupee’s continued downslide against the US dollar and high inflation that has jacked up commodity price.

“The foundation of the country’s economy is strong and it is evident from the fact that we have achieved a GDP growth of 6.5 per cent in the last fiscal,” he said.

He attacked critics who had observed that the country’s economy performed badly during his tenure. “We had achieved nine per cent GDP growth some years ago. The GDP growth,however,went down to 8.4 per cent in 2009-10. In the last fiscal,our GDP growth stood at 6.5 per cent. How many countries have achieved such growth?” Mukherjee asked.

“Doubts have been raised whether our economy can fight back. I will say of course it will fight back,” he said.

But he termed devaluation of the rupee a “matter of concern”. “There is nothing to be worried about,though. At one point of time in 2010,inflation went up to 22 per cent. There has been a downward move since then. Though there are some upward movements in food inflation,it will come down,” he said.

The veteran Congress leader went to his native village,Mirati,on Saturday to seek blessings of elder sister Annapurna Banerjee,before starting his presidential campaign. When he reached there,people shouted: “Our President has arrived.”

“I am overwhelmed by the response. I know all of them personally,” he said.

A short while later,Mukherjee told reporters: “This is a personal visit. But I wish to speak to you as it is my last media briefing as Finance Minister. I will resign on 26 June.”

“I have been selected as the candidate for the post of President by the ruling UPA-II and all its alliance partners except one party (Trinamool Congress). Some non-UPA parties like CPM,Forward Block,Shiv Sena,JD (United) and Samajwadi Party have supported my candidature. I am grateful to them,” he said.

“I have been involved in politics for many years. But since the President of the country is above politics and does not belong to any party,I will quit the Congress and submit my resignation to the party president shortly,” he said.

Mukherjee had a smile on his face when he was asked if he would seek the Trinamool Congress’s support again. “I seek support from all,” he said.

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