NEW DELHI, Mar 2 (Agencies): In an unusual offer, Finance Minister P Chidambaram yesterday invited Indian trade and industry leaders to a meet on May one with a list of perceived obstacles to 12 per cent growth in manufacturing, which he promised to address.
"Let me make an open offer. Take time and meet me on May one .. All chambers can make a list of what stands between you and 12 per cent growth and we shall address them. Please send your list 15 days ahead for us to study," Chidambaram told captains of Indian Industry in his post budget interaction.
A 10 per cent economic growth would require industry and services to grow at a double digit. "But Unless agriculture grows at 4 per cent, whatever combination and permutation we may try, we can not attain 10 per cent growth," he said.
The budget has gone an extra-mile to help the farm sector to deal with credit and infrastructure issues, he said.
On the demand for putting in place a single regulatory mechanism for energy and infrastructure, he said this issue would be addressed shortly.
He did not subscribe to the view that the disinvestment programme has been derailed. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has already cleared shedding of a small portion of Government equity in Power Finance Corporation and National Mineral Development Corporation.
He expected off-loading of small portion in 6-8 non Navaratna profit making state undertakings to mop up Rs between Rs 60 million and Rs 70 million.
Navaratna, which literally means nine gems, is the top group of profit-making government-owned undertakings.
He said Government would approach World Bank in April with Rs 44 billion project to restore 20,000 water bodies for irrigating 1.4 million hectares.
Meanwhile, India's new "common man" budget combining populism with pledges of strong growth and fiscal vigilance spurred shares to a record high yesterday as it won praise from economists, business and traders.
Keeping up a record-breaking streak for a third session, Mumbai's benchmark 30-share Senxex index closed up 1.88 per cent at 10,565.47 as investors bet that the budget for the year to March 2007 meant the economy would keep booming.
Calling growth the "best antidote to poverty," Finance Minister P Chidambaram forecast Asia's third-largest economy would grow by 8.1 per cent during this fiscal year after expanding by 7.5 per cent the previous year, and targeted 10 per cent growth in the next few years.