21 Nov : Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday cautioned that it was "too early" to say that the global economic crisis had been contained but expressed confidence that the situation would throw up new opportunities for India in the future.
Addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, Gandhi chose not to touch on controversial issues and instead focussed on the financial meltdown and its impact on India.
The 62-year old UPA Chairperson made it clear that the government believed in an open economy "but not an unregulated one" and not at the expense of social justice.
Assuring investors that there was "no need to panic", Gandhi said that liberalisation must be pursued sensibly and there was no need to get back to the regime of controls.
Expressing concern over the economic downturn, Gandhi said these were "turbulent times" and "we will have to wait a while as we grapple with this cataclysm thrust upon us."
"The dramatic economic downturn is clearly the big issue of the day," she said, adding while governments have taken action to face the impact of the global crisis, it was "much too early to say whether the crisis has been contained."
Observing that the year had witnessed "an extraordinary confluence of crises", Gandhi said "the oil prices zoomed, food shortage proliferated and now a financial meltdown that has threatened banks."
The crisis had also undermined the value of real estate, diminished stock portfolios, adversely affected exports and sharply reduced national growth rates everywhere, she said.
Gandhi said though governments in affected countries around the world have taken action, it is too early to say whether the global dangers have been contained.
She said many were "still grappling" with the problems that have arisen in their economies and added that "India too is not immune to the contagion".