In line with expectations, the RBI today cut its short-term lending rate by 0.25% to spur growth and revive investment but sounded a note of caution on further easing of rates on account of high food inflation and current account deficit.
"The foremost challenge for returning the economy to a high growth trajectory is to revive investment. A competitive interest rate is necessary for this but not sufficient," the Reserve Bank said in its mid-quarter review of the monetary policy.
Accordingly, its short term lending rate or the repo was reduced by 0.25% to 7.5%, making it the second consecutive cut in as many months.
The market was widely expecting a cut by 0.25% due to the deteriorating growth which is estimated to touch a decade low of 5% and a cooling in the core inflation to a 35 month low.
He, however said "...even as the policy stance emphasises addressing the growth risks, the headroom for further monetary easing remains quite limited."
Expecting the government to begin spending, it left the cash reserve ratio or the amount of deposits banks have to park with RBI, unchanged at 4%.
The BSE Sensex, which started sliding after the policy announcement, fell sharply by almost 300 points after a coalition partner DMK pulled out of the UPA alliance.
The RBI, however stressed that a interest rate cut alone will not be helpful in order to achieve the objective of reviving investment and called for bridging supply constraints and staying course on fiscal consolidation.
On its guidance, the statement was cautious on further easing and pointed towards the rising current account deficit— which is widely expected to touch a record high at 5 per cent and the expectation of inflation staying range-bound due to fuel price revisions and rising MSPs for agri produce, as the inhibiting factors.