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Government will continue with economic reforms agenda: Chidambaram

Government will continue with economic reforms agenda: Chidambaram

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New Delhi:

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said there will be no let-up in the government's efforts to continue with the economic reforms and he will go ahead with his meetings with foreign investors to persuade them to invest in India.

"I don't see us any weaker today (than) what we were yesterday. Yes, it is true one ally has withdrawn support. The government enjoys a majority, the government will continue to do its duty," said the Finance Minister, undeterred by recent political developments.

"The government will continue to take executive action and the government will continue to push legislation in Parliament", he told a press conference.

Mr Chidambaram was responding to questions on fate of economic reforms in the aftermath of withdrawal of support to the UPA by the DMK.

The Finance Minister further said that he would meet investors to persuade them to invest in India and also the government will not waiver in its commitment to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent in 2013-14 from 5.2 per cent estimated in the current financial year.

He is scheduled to meet foreign investors in major financial hubs in Japan, UAE, Canada and the United States in the coming weeks.

"We are in government. We have a duty to steer the ship even if there is mild storm in the sea. We have our hands firmly on the wheels. We will continue to push for legislation," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said yesterday the Cabinet cleared the food security bill and this morning the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) approved disinvestment of SAIL.

He said the food security bill will be introduced in Parliament and he is "absolutely confident there will be enough support in Parliament to pass the Bill."

The government proposes to push through key economic reform Bills in areas such as insurance, pension and corporate law in the Budget session.

The insurance and pension bills seek to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in the sectors from 26 per cent to 49 per cent and the food security bill seeks to provide subsidised food grain to people below poverty line.

Other important economic reforms bills on the agenda include the forward contracts (regulation) amendment bill and the companies bill that is yet to be vetted by the Rajya Sabha.

The government has listed 39 Bills for consideration and passage and 20 for introduction.

The 115th Constitutional Amendment Bill which will pave way for introduction of goods and services tax (GST) has not been listed in the agenda for the Budget session.

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