New Delhi: In a speech on Monday, Union finance minister P. Chidambaram made an interesting remark on economic reforms.
He said, “Long-standing structural reforms required to achieve high investment and high growth rates have been held back because of many reasons. Among them are the concern to protect the flagship programmes that have been designed to benefit the poor.”
This is a variant of an argument that individuals with faith in Left politics often make: high-growth policies require that interests of the poor be sacrificed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Pro-poor programmes have been built on the foundation of strong growth. The huge revenues garnered by the government in the high-growth years made them possible. It was the wild swing in favour of these schemes that derailed growth. If only to sustain these programmes, the government should go for growth-reviving reforms.