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Finance minister discusses meltdown, agenda for global meet


New Delhi : Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday held a high-level meeting with key policy-makers and monetary experts to discuss the global financial meltdown and formulate India’s position at the world summit next month on the current financial crisis.

“Today’s meeting was about what would be India’s response at the summit, a high-level meeting that will discuss possible changes in the international financial architecture,” said C. Rangarajan – Rajya Sabha member who is also a former chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and former governor of the Reserve Bank.

Rangarajan was present at Wednesday’s meeting, along with – among others – the current Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. Subbarao, and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) Chairman C.B. Bhave.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, RBI deputy governor Rakesh Mohan, Finance Secretary Arun Ramanathan, former RBI chief Bimal Jalan, Finance Commission chairman Vijay Kelkar and Economic Affairs Secretary of the Finance ministry Ashok Chawla also attended the meeting.

“A number of issues were discussed, including the position India must take at the forthcoming G20 Summit,” Subbarao told reporters at North Block, the office of the finance ministry, without elaborating further.

According to a top finance ministry official, the meeting discussed the fiscal and monetary measures taken within India to address the fallout of the global meltdown on the country’s financial system.

Assurances were given to the government that SEBI would remain vigilant and continue to take swift action as warranted, the official added.

He said the meeting took note of the suggestions to infuse more liquidity into the system by the Liquidity Adjustment and Injection Committee, headed by Finance Secretary Ramanathan.

In reply to a query on the issue of short selling, SEBI chairman Bhave said: “I have no comment at this stage. Whenever decisions are made, they will be communicated to you. I have no comments to make at all.”

Last week, US President George W. Bush invited leaders from 19 countries and the European Union for a summit in Washington Nov 15 to understand the reasons for the crisis and put in place mechanisms and regulations to resolve the issue.

These countries are part of an informal forum that was established in 1999 to engage rich and developing countries on economic issues. The forum normally brings the finance ministers and central bank governors together.

Besides India and the European Union, the group comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain and the US.