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Don't panic, Manmohan tells investors

May 17, 2004 12:20 IST
Last Updated: May 18, 2004 00:54 IST

The leading party in the incoming government warned of stern action against manipulators in the stock market that crashed on Monday and assured investors that the coalition would adopt policies for a stable market.

Concerned over the historic crash in the stock markets on Monday, senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh said the new government will not hesitate to take any steps against manipulators who create unnecessary panic in the market.

The warning from Singh, widely perceived as the finance minister of the Congress-led government, came within an hour of the crash, forcing the stock authorities to freeze trading for second time in the day.

He also appealed to investors not to panic over the stock market crash.

He said the new government will focus on pro-growth policies, and reasserted that privatisation is okay so long as it is in national interest.

Singh said the new government would not pursue privatisation as an ideology but it was also not against privatisation per se.

"Where it is called for, it will be done. We are for it on a selective basis," he said.

On the Common Minimum Programme, he said they were confident they would thrash out a common document.Singh said he also talked to outgoing Finance Minister Jaswant Singh to share his concern and reaffirmed the belief of the Congress and allies about the 'healthy growth of the capital market.'

Singh said Congress-led United Progressive Alliance is committed to healthy development of financial market and its orderly and disciplined behaviour.

The alliance will come out with a Common Minimum Programme shortly which would demonstrate its commitment towards realistic growth policies. It will chalk out policies which are pro-growth, pro-investment, pro-savings and pro-employment, Singh added.

In an apparent reference to the recent statements made by the Left parties on disinvestment, he also asked his allies to exercise restraint.

On fiscal policies, Singh said the alliance would seek creation of a favourable climate for investment opportunities for both domestic and international players.

He said the alliance would take confidence-building steps as far as the financial markets were concerned.

As Manmohan Singh finished talking to the press, he got a call from the outgoing Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, who said he agreed with the former on the statements given.

Asserting that the Congress-led government would take a balanced approach towards growth, he said: "We will pursue a policy that will promote both social and economic growth."

Singh's observation assumes importance in the face of Left parties' assertion that they were in favour of scrapping the divestment policy of the NDA government.

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