New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched a strong defence of his government’s economic strategy while reiterating its commitment to “inclusive growth”. Addressing the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he responded to critics of his government and said: “It is not by accident that the average rate of economic growth has been 9% in the last three years. These are the results of balanced, prudent economic policies.”
The Prime Minister, in particular, has been at the receiving end of criticism, including from within the Congress party, for the inability to curb inflation. As a palliative, Singh put forth a ten-point social charter that would not only sustain the current growth but also make it more inclusive.
“We must end forever the debate whether our country’s march of progress has benefited India and not Bharat. India is Bharat,” he said.
1.Worker welfare (because labour votes)“Unless workers feel they are cared for, we can never evolve a consensus in favour of flexible labour laws.”
2. Corporate social responsibility(because those who gain must share)“CSR must not be defined by tax planning alone.”
3. Affirmative action (instead of job reservation)“Industry must be pro-active in offering employment to the less privileged.” CII promotes affirmative action.
4. CEO remuneration (towards moderation)“Resist excessive remuneration to promoters and senior executives and discourage conspicuous consumption.”
5. Skill development (focus on training)“Invest in people and in their skills.” The government has approved a Rs550 crore “Skill Development”package.
6. Cartelization (because prices can’t soar) “Cartels are a crime.” Some sections of Indian industry have been accused of cartelisation in recent months.
7.Sustainable development (because the environment matters) “India’s growth must be enhanced and yet, our environment and ecology must be protected.”
8. Innovation (because it matters) “If our industry has to make the leap to the next stage of development, it must be far more innovative.”
9. Corruption (because it’s there)“For every recipient of a bribe, there is a benefactor and beneficiary.”
10. Responsibility in media (send the right message)“Through your advertisement budgets you can encourage socially responsible media.
Finance minister (in Delhi)
“Why blame growth? What should be blamed is the incapacity of administration to make growth inclusive... Incapacity of the state is not a ground to complain. Low growth is even more non-inclusive... There is no country which has achieved inclusive growth without high growth. India cannot hope to be an exception.”
Commerce minister (in Tokyo)
“A few years ago, we sensed the dangers that rapid growth without inclusive development can pose to the social polity. For the last three years we have, therefore, been moulding policies which while ensuring that growth continues unhindered and faster, make the benefits more evenly spread and reach the common man.”