This refers to Niranjan Rajadhyaksha’s “Two economic transitions” (Mint, 2 June). It is indeed heartening to see that despite witnessing one of the worst global crises, our country has achieved higher industrial output. We also witnessed the drought last year in most parts of the country, hence we were not expecting a great agricultural output last year. But now, when the monsoon is around the corner and expected to be normal, coupled with higher industrial output, we can say that we are on the right track to double-digit economic growth for the next fiscal. Though, as mentioned in the column, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are nowhere concerned with the fact that they have to create more jobs not only for the economy to grow, but also to reduce unemployment.
— Bal Govind
This refers to your editorial “PM’s coat of paint” (Mint, 25 May). I fully agree with your comment that “(Manmohan) Singh’s government is far more ambitious and the scale of challenges it faces, externally and internally, too, is qualitatively different”.
The Prime Minister has assured the country that he will take further steps to battle inflation to bring it down to 5-6% by December. But it will be interesting to know whether the projected growth rate of 8.5% accounts for inflation. If not, then with inflation almost in double digits, where would our growth rate stand?
On the other hand is Singh’s efforts at building bridges with Pakistan. As you rightly pointed out, “Unfortunately, here again, the signs are hardly propitious. After all, Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and even Atal Bihari Vajpayee have been bitten by the bug of friendship and have been disappointed at a later date.” These precedents should have been clear indications to Singh that he should be more cautious when it comes to Pakistan. And if his claim that there is no “rift between him and his party president, Sonia Gandhi” is true, then it’s also true that “the bitter internecine fighting between his cabinet colleagues and Congress party leaders” is increasing day after day, and his inability to tackle some of the unruly ministers in his cabinet sends the wrong signal to people.
Interestingly, the Prime Minister frankly said he was not going to retire as he still had unfinished tasks, even though he was ready to hand over power to the new generation—whether Rahul Gandhi or some other young leader. I wish the Prime Minister all the best in his efforts.
— Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
Aluminium manufacturing is neither a requisite for a country’s self-reliance, nor critical to its survival during hostile conditions with neighbours. Hence, there is no reason the government has to control it fully.
The dominance of the steel sector in India makes cost structures in high-end manufacturing uncompetitive, as sectors such as aerospace, defence and automotive are all aluminium intensive. Today, there is no Indian aluminium manufacturer for simple applications such as manufacturing radiators or condensers for automobiles. Hence, all the raw material has to be imported. Nalco only focuses on the primary side of aluminium and exports a substantial portion of its produce. Nor does it need extra cash through government disinvestment programmes. But India requires a competent home-grown source of raw material, which can help it become a manufacturing powerhouse for the world, and in the process aid millions of workers enter the job market.
To conclude, India needs a competitive manufacturing base for all products in India (especially high-end). To achieve this, it requires an effective mining policy with robust raw material sources. These can happen only when the government shackles are withdrawn from these non-critical resources and focused on bringing capital for efficient manufacturing.
— Anjan Putatunda