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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley vows to check inflation, restore investor confidence

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 - 8:30pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday vowed to restore investor confidence and check inflation as he tries to steer the economy through challenging times and bring it back on the path of high growth.

Soon after taking over as Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Jaitley said that he had inherited a "lot of unpaid bills" and a strained economy.

"I am conscious of the fact that I am taking over at a very challenging time, particularly when there is a need to rebuild the confidence of the Indian economy," he said as he held a series of meetings with officials to decide on the Narendra Modi government's policy directions.

"The challenges are very obvious. We have to restore the pace of growth, contain inflation and obviously concentrate on fiscal consolidation," Jaitley added.

Economic growth slowed to 4.9% in 2013-14 and retail inflation in April stood at 8.59%. The current account deficit narrowed to 1.7% of GDP while the fiscal deficit is estimated at 4.6% of GDP in 2013-14.

The new finance minister, who pitched for a balance between growth and inflation, had a 50-minute meeting with Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan and discussed the macroeconomic situation and external sector.

"It is absolutely a task that the government and the RBI are engaged (in fighting inflation). RBI has always maintained the balance between growth and inflation," Rajan said after the meeting.

As the new government beefs up efforts to put the economy back on track, all five departments in the finance ministry have prepared presentations to brief Jaitley.

"The political change itself sends a strong signal to the global community as also domestic investors. Over the next two months, by expediting the decision-making processes, we will be able to build on that," he said.

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