Indian PM rules out repeat of 1991 economic crisis

NEW DELHI, August 17, 2013 (AFP) – India’s premier ruled out Saturday any suggestion the country could suffer a repeat of its 1991 balance-of-payments crisis as it grapples with a plunging rupee and a huge trade gap. Singh added that he hoped for “fresh thinking” at the central bank when its new governor Raghuram Rajan takes over in September.

“The time has come to look at the possibilities and limitations of the monetary policy in a globalised economy,” he said.

India’s finance ministry is reported to regard the current central bank leadership as overly conservative in its focus on inflation at the expense of economic growth.

Rajan is a former International Monetary Fund chief economist and is famed for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke a day after India’s currency hit a new low of 62.03 rupees to the dollar and stocks posted their sharpest single-day fall in nearly two years.

Singh was finance minister in 1991 and was credited with overcoming the deep economic crisis.

“There is no question of going back to the 1991 crisis,” Singh told reporters in New Delhi in televised remarks at a book launch.

In 1991, hard currency reserves had su