Rajan holds rate; lobs ball to govt court

Putting the ball in government's court, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday kept the key interest rate unchanged amid inflation and growth concerns, saying that further easing will depend on "structural reforms" in the forthcoming Budget as well as macroeconomic factors.
Rajan holds rate; lobs ball to govt court
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Putting the ball in government's court, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday kept the key interest rate unchanged amid inflation and growth concerns, saying that further easing will depend on "structural reforms" in the forthcoming Budget as well as macroeconomic factors.

He said the government has suggested a number of steps to make the economy more flexible, create growth opportunities as well as incentivise investments, and these are the reforms that the Reserve Bank will look at in the forthcoming Budget to be announced on February 29.

"Structural reforms in the forthcoming Budget that boost growth while controlling spending will create more space for monetary policy to support growth, while also ensuring that inflation remains on the projected path of 5 per cent by the end of FY17," Rajan said in the sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review.

Although he left the repo rate unchanged at 6.75 per cent, Rajan said RBI continues to be accommodative, while it awaits further data on the development of inflation. It had cut the lending rate last year by 125 bps in 4 installments.

"One of the biggest sources of concerns in the economy today is the services sector inflation because there is limited capacity for example in education, healthcare," Rajan told reporters at the customary post-policy press conference.

There could be steps to encourage more training and skilling, he said.

"So, whether the government takes some steps in that direction…all those are structural reforms that could help in a particular area we are interested in which is lowering the pace of inflation overtime," he added.

The decision to keep repo rate on hold is based on the inflation trajectory which is moving along the set path, he said, adding that if the data supports it, RBI will be accommodative. 

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