‘The journalist who can put a finger on things that retard the economy and suggest alternatives which would accelerate the economy’

It is natural for the Finance Minister of a nation that is playing catch-up with Asian giant China to read and hear good words about the Indian economy.

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday provided a glimpse of what he expected of good financial journalism while presenting the ‘Shriram Sanlam’ awards for excellence in financial journalism.

The journalist who can put a finger on things that retard the economy and suggest alternatives which would accelerate the economy is what he looks forward to, the Finance Minister said.

To the fraternity of financial journalists, some of whom “were natural optimists and others pessimists”, Mr. Chidambaram had this advice: “Do not belittle the Indian economy’s growth prospects.”

He reposed faith in India’s demographic — high proportions of working people as against dependants —, entrepreneurial spirit and set of values in youngsters to propel the growth story for a few more decades. Advocating a “greater degree of equanimity when we approach the Indian economic scenario”, Mr. Chidambaram said as far as India was concerned, the economy would keep growing for the next 20 to 40 years regardless of which Government was in power.

However, what the Government could do was in enabling conditions for accelerated growth of 8-9 per cent by effective, responsible and efficient governance, instead of keeping to an automatic momentum of 6-8 per cent, Mr. Chidambaram said.

Looking upon the Financial Times from London as the ideal daily, Mr. Chidambaram said there was no reason why Indian financial newspapers too could not gain global readership.

The awardees were Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, Consulting Editor, The Economic Times (Life Time Achievement-Rs. 2.5 lakh), P.A. Seshan, former Finance and Commercial Editor of The Hindu and author of the popular column "Leo Notes" who is in his centenary year (Hall of Fame-Rs. 1.5 lakh) and Raghu Mohan (Indian Economic Policy and Macro Economic Issues-Rs. 1 lakh).

Arun Duggal, Chairman, Shriram Capital participated.

The jury comprised Gopal Srinivasan, CMD, TVS Capital; Nachiket Mor, Chairman, CARE India; Srinivasan K. Swamy, CMD, R.K. Swamy; Ashu Suyash, CEO, L&T Mutual Fund and Adit Jain, Chairman, IMA Asia.

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