Reacting to Finance Minister P Chidamabarams statement that a section of industry is artificially pushing up prices, Habil Khorakiwala, the new president of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) said there was no evidence of some sections making abnormal profits.
While the finance minister blamed a section of the industry for inflating prices, even he agreed that there was not much evidence to show that prices were being pushed up artificially, said Khorakiwala.
Ficci believes the current inflation rate of 5 per cent is not worrisome. Khorakiwala argued that the government must not be overconcerned about inflation.Our perception is that too much tightening of the economy will affect growth. Economy is growing at 9 per cent and we need to maintain this growth momentum, he added.
The current growth momentum of the economy takes a very long time to build up and the government should remove the roadblocks which may hamper it, said Khorakiwala.
He urged the government to leave inflation to market forces. The economy must not be micro managed by the government. Market should be allowed to play its role and should be given a chance to adjust itself, he said.
On the controversial issue of land acquisition for special cconomic zones (SEZs), Khorakiwala said, We are talking of just 55 million hectare of land for industrial purposes. This is just 1 per cent of the cultivable land in the country. Acquisition of land for industrial purposes is a non-issue. Ultimately, this will lead to industrialisation and growth of the economy.
He said the private sector should be allowed to purchase land at the prevailing market price and displaced farmers should be given adequate compensation.
One member of the family from which the land has been purchased must be trained and redeployed.
Commenting on reservation for backward sections in the private sector, Khorakiwala opined that while affirmative action was required, it could not be done by the old method of quota reservations. He asked the government to look a alternatives to the reservation policy.
On Press Note 1, Ficci said this had now become a small issue and in recent times, the chamber had not been approached by any company regarding conflict of interest with its foreign joint venture partner.
Outlining Ficcis focus areas during the year, Khorakiwala said the industry body would lobby for improving education and health facilities in the country. Education will be a prime focus area.
We need government intervention to improve the quality of primary education while higher education can be improved through a business model, said Khorakiwala said.