Govt may cut spend, raise NRI deposit rates

New Delhi: The steps to be announced tomorrow by the government and the RBI may include raising the interest for NRI deposits, cutting down wasteful expenditures and unveiling a bond issue for overseas investors to improve capital inflows in the wake of the rout in rupee.

Economic growth has fallen to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2011-12 and industrial output continues to be sluggish with a mere 0.1 per cent growth in April. Inflation too remained at an elevated level of 7.55 per cent in May. "Private investment in India is constrained by lack of availability of funds. Government might announce some measures for attracting investments and also steps to cut down wasteful expenditures," said Y K Alagh, Chairman, Institute of Rural Management.

Hit by a weak global sentiment and subdued local macroeconomic performance, the rupee has lost over 25 per cent in the last one year. It also breached the 57 level against the dollar on June 22. Market analysts expect RBI to announce an increase in interest rates for deposits of Non-Resident Indians. They also expect government to announce a bond issue to attract inflows.

"RBI may increase the interest rate on FCNR(B) deposit further and announce the issuance of bonds for Non-Resident Indians to address the issues in the short-term" Crisil Chief Economist D K Joshi said. Experts also see steps being taken to reduce the twin deficits. CNI Research Head Kishor Ostwal said,"It might take steps to tame fiscal and current account deficits."

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had yesterday announced that the government and the RBI would take steps to arrest the declining rupee and improve market conditions. "The steps we have taken…And we will be able to take certain measures to be announced on Monday which will improve market condition," he had said.