NEW DELHI, India, July 15, Reuter: India’s new Finance Minister indicated on Fri day he wanted to slow down the government’s policy of economic liberalization.

“Businessmen are expecting far too much from me. I must balance their aspirations with the developmental needs of the people”, Shankarran Bhaorao Chavan said in his first detailed comments on the Indian economy since his June appointment.

Chavan, who came to the Finance Ministry from West India’s Maharashtra state where he was Chief Minister, told Reuters he ‘was against a relaxation of controls in consumer sectors begun by. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when he took office in 1984.

Chavan, apparently referring to the lifting of import restrictions on consumer items such as television parts, said he was particularly against concessions on luxury goods.

The import of luxury goods is elections and last year’s drought were factors in the Government’s review of its policy of gradually removing economic controls.

Economists have blamed these restrictions for discouraging the growth of exports and foreign investment in India.

He said another factor was a crisis in foreign exchange reserves which by June 17 had fallen to 61.7 Billion rupees (4.41 billion dollars), the lowest in more than two years.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 22, 1988