Shun complacency to take India forward.
BY OUR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
October 6, 2006
Complacency is something the nation cannot afford to tolerate at the moment, feels Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The polity has to stay clear off such an attitude and has to think out of the box if the reforms process has to move ahead, he said in the commercial capital of Mumbai on Friday.
Seeking a consensus approach on financial, agriculture as well as labour sector reforms, the Prime Minister added that there is a need to evolve a broad consensus. With this in mind, “I and the Finance Minister meet our Left colleagues every two to three months," he pointed out.
Seeking flexibility in the labour sector, he said that the targeted economic growth of 8-10 per cent which the country is moving toward, can help generate more jobs and thereby benefit the workers. He called upon trade union leaders to contribute to the process of labour sector reforms. Creation of more employment would annul the fears the worker community with regard to loss of jobs, if labour laws are made more flexible, he added.
Pointing out to the Special Economic Zones issue, Singh said the SEZs are expected to play an important role in the growth of the nation. Concerns that have arisen on acquisition of agriculture land for the setting up of SEZs has to be taken note of, the Prime Minister pointed out.
Asked what could derail the economy over the next 15-20 years, the Prime Minister said that though he was not an astrologer, "the political process could derail growth" if it was not agriculture-oriented.
Observing that a large amount of investment is imperative in the infrastructure sector in the coming 6 year period, he said this would lead to substantial activities in areas like roads, railways, ports and airports. However it is unfortunate that the power sector is a slow growing area which needed more attention.
Promising to take the financial sector reforms forward in sectors like debt market, pension and insurance, he said that only such steps would lead to more investments which could prop the country’s quest to achieve growth rates of 8-10 per cent per annum. “We need to make efforts to understand why the debt market has not taken off, and to take policy measures to make it deeper, broader and more liquid,” he opined.