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Govt will continue with economic reforms agenda: P Chidambaram

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, while taking questions on the DMK pullout, also said he will go ahead with his meetings with foreign investors to persuade them to invest in India.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram

Finance Minister P Chidambaram. PHOTO: PTI

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has 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.

Chidambaram was responding to questions in the aftermath of withdrawal of support by the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), a key ally, to the UPA (United Progressive Alliance).

"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 Yes, it is true one ally has withdrawn support.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. The government will continue to take executive action and the government will continue to push legislation in Parliament", the minister said at a press conference.

Chidambaram further said 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.

The government proposes to push through key economic reform Bills in areas such as insurance, pension and corporate law during the ongoing Budget Session. The session, which began on February 21 and includes a month-long break from March 22 to April 22, ends on May 10.

The Cabinet cleared the Food Security Bill on Tuesday while the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) approved disinvestment of state-owned SAIL earlier on Wednesday.

Chidambaram said the Food Security Bill will be introduced in Parliament and "I am absolutely confident there will be enough support in Parliament to pass the Bill".

Meanwhile, the markets continued to trade under pressure for the second straight day, weighed down by DMK pullout and the Reserve Bank of India's note of caution in its monetary policy review on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI
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