In possibly the last in the series of pre-budget consultations ahead of the Union Budget on March 16, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday had a meeting with the financial sector regulators to discuss ways and means of improving the investment climate and boosting a sagging economy.
The meeting attended, among others, by Reserve Bank of India Governor D. Subbarao and SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) Chairman U. K. Sinha and top officials of the Finance Ministry was described by the apex bank chief as a pre-budget meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) headed by the Finance Minister.
“This is a pre-budget FSDC meeting. Finance Minister heard all the regulators. Of course, the RBI has responsibility both for macroeconomic management and for banking regulation. The outcome of Saturday's meeting will be reflected in the Budget,” Dr. Subbarao told the media here without divulging any further details.
PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) Chairman Yogesh Agarwal, who also participated in the discussions, said: “In the meeting, the regulators suggested pro-investment, pro-growth and anti-inflationary measures for the Budget.” With the Finance Minister widely expected to announce, as part of the Budget proposals, a slew of measures aimed at halting the economic slowdown and presenting India as an attractive destination for foreign investment, Mr. Mukherjee, it is learnt, presented an overview of the current economic situation and specific points of concern before seeking suggestions on ways of curbing inflation and spurring overall growth, which is officially estimated to slide to 6.9 per cent this fiscal from 8.4 per cent in 2010-11.
Following the global financial crisis in 2008, the FSDC, headed by the Finance Minister, was set up as a policy discussion forum of regulators to look at the country's financial sector development, financial literacy and financial inclusion along with macro-prudential supervision of the economy, including the functioning of large financial conglomerates.