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Uday Kotak says number 8 is jinxed; here’s what Indian hero must do to beat slowdown villain

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Even as the Indian economy continues to remain under pressure amid the ongoing slowdown, top banker Uday Kotak said that the economy goes through such a phase every 10 years. Speaking on the sidelines of the HT-Mint Asia Leadership Summit, Kotak said that this happens when the previous year ends in '8'. "This happens, somehow, when the last ending number of year is 8. The Asian crisis happened in 1998, 2008 the global financial crisis, and 2018 -- the IL&FS crisis, and everything else followed.  Every 10 years, we are going through a slowdown," Uday Kotak, MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank told CNBC TV18. In the same event, Kotak compared the Indian economy to a Bollywood movie, and said that it will have a 'happy ending'.

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According to the expert, India has looked like a very difficult photograph in the last 35 years. However, as an entrepreneur, if people are ready to take risks at the right time, the results could be very rewarding, he said. Taking the Bollywood analogy further, Kotak said that a love story is developing in the Indian context, but there is a villain. Slowing growth, fear of investing, are the villians, in his assessment. Sharing how to overcome these concerns, Kotak said that 'the hero' needs to drop interest rates further, and depreciation of rupee should be allowed. "By March 2020, the repo rate need to go down below 5%. Further, allow a depreciation of the rupee. That's another thing I would strong recommend," he said at the event.

Asia's richest banker added that while the picture looks very challenging at the moment, it is never as bad as it looks and at the same time it's never as good as it looks, when it comes to India. After the Modi government's mega PSU bank consolidation drive, Uday Kotak called for more public ownership in PSU banks, and reducing the government's stake to below 50 per cent. "If you stick to what you are doing and are ready to take risks at the right time, you can get phenomenal returns over a long period of time. India presents a lot of opportunity that no other country gives,"he said.