Indian industry looks to new government to boost growth

MUMBAI, May 20, 2009 (AFP) – The newly elected Congress-led government needs to move swiftly and decisively to restore blistering economic growth in India, even if that means higher inflation, industry leaders here say. As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh prepares for a second term of office, business executives said they hoped the government would announce a fresh fiscal stimulus and the central bank would further lower interest rates.

The centre-left Congress won a massive vote of confidence Monday from the stock market with a record surge in share prices adding sheen to the party’s resounding election victory last weekend.

“As an immediate action, we hope for a further cut in short-term interest rates by at least 50 basis points,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director-general of the country’s leading industry body, the Confederation of Indian Industry.

“This would create an impetus for growth,” he told AFP.

Government authorities estimate growth for the fiscal year just ended in March slipped to about 6.5 percent due to the global financial crisis, from nine percent in the previous 12-month period.

They expect growth to decelerate to around six percent this year, the slowest pace in seven y