Calling upon trade and industry to give up pessimism, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said it was time for them to rededicate themselves to the cause of growth and in doing so they should consider adopting a “domestic demand growth strategy.”

Addressing a felicitation meeting organised by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) here, Mr. Mukherjee said: “Nothing can be more dangerous than negative sentiment. I am sure you will continue to radiate confidence and drive development process with courage and a spirit of adventure and confidence.”

There was no dearth of self-styled Cassandras and prophets of doom. Collective efforts had helped overcome the problems in the past and they would to overcome the challenges now too, Mr. Mukherjee added.

Deviating from his prepared speech, he said there may be difficulties, many of which appeared insurmountable; yet each of the problems could be solved through determination and innovation. The slowdown in the GDP, the high rate of inflation and the widening current account deficit besides the fiscal deficit, which continued to be a serious concern, were issues facing the country. “We have to solve these problems, lamenting and spreading negative sentiments will not help,” the President said.

No country could live in isolation and international events affected domestic economy, the resolution of the eurozone crisis was not in the horizon. Thus, the need was to use the domestic market. “It [growth] is not so high, but cannot be too low also,” he explained. A look at the growth scenario in the country over a period of time revealed that there was nothing disappointing. The fundamentals continued to be strong, he added.

The country was able to recover after the global financial crisis in 2009-10 and 2010-11. The GDP growth shrunk last financial year and in the first quarter of the current fiscal, it was 5.5 per cent, which no doubt was disappointing. But “not many countries are doing better than us” and IMF had also revised the growth projections of many countries, Mr. Mukherjee said.

The President also underscored that the nation’s growth should be as inclusive as possible to encompass all sections of the society and it should be ensured that each and everyone got to reap the benefit of development.