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India finance minister asks banks to ensure credit flow to industry

India's Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram smiles during a news conference in New Delhi July 31, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
India's Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram smiles during a news conference in New Delhi July 31, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday asked state-run banks to ensure flow of credit to every sector of industry, indicating the need for funding projects amid an economic slowdown.

The banks have been asked to assist industrial borrowers who were facing difficulties and be sympathetic towards genuine defaulters, Chidambaram told a parliamentary panel attached to the finance ministry.

Economic growth virtually halved in two years to 5 percent in the fiscal year that ended in March -- the lowest level in a decade -- and most economists surveyed by Reuters in the past week expect 2013/14 to be worse.

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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