New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram appealed to people not to buy so much gold as a way of reducing hefty imports, speaking on CNBC-TV18 a day after his 2013-14 Budget surprised traders by keeping gold import duty unchanged at 6 per cent.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Chidambaram said, "Our CAD is large because we are importing a lot of oil, coal, edible oil, pulses and gold. Except for gold, all the others are absolute necessities to keep the economy going and to keep peoples needs met."
"The only way we can reduce our dependence on imports is to increase domestic production. There is a paragraph on what we will do on oil and coal imports. In terms of oil seeds and pulses one cannot do anything in the short-term. On gold, I can only appeal to you and through your channel to the people that to not demand so much gold. However, I am not sure too many people will listen to me on that. Therefore, we threw some sand in the wheels to make gold imports a little more costly and it has brought it down to some extent," Chidambaram added.
Chidambaram said, people of India will heed his appeal and will not demand so much gold.
Chidambaram also said that the UPA will face 2014 General Elections on the plank of high growth and low inflation. Speaking to Shereen Bhan of CNBC TV18 in an exclusive interview, Chidambaram said that there isn't and never was a danger of rating downgrade for India.
"I don't think there is or ever was any danger of a rating downgrade. Indian economy is faring much better than other economies, say the Japanese economy. If anything, India should be a candidate for a rating upgrade," said the Finance Minister a day after presenting the Union Budget 2013.
In the interview, Chidambaram said that India could become the second fastest growing economy in the world if it could achieve over six per cent growth.
He further said that he wanted to revise the Mauritius route of investments saying that it was being misused by the people. "There is no change in tax residency certificate (TRC) involving Mauritius investment. The Mauritius route should not be the most preferred way to invest in India. Some people are taking undue advantage of the Mauritius tax treaties. India will continue to talk to Mauritius on Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement," Chidambaram said.