On Board PM’s Special Aircraft: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday appealed to political parties across the spectrum to work together to ensure passage of important economic legislations in Parliament and to maintain a growth path which will see GDP rate of 9%.
He also said foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector would be allowed after a political consensus is evolved but held out an assurance that whatever decisions the government would take will not affect small retail traders in the country.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a press conference onboard Air India One enroute from Frankfurt to New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: PTI
Addressing a press conference while returning home from a 7-day trip to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, he listed the crucial economic legislations to be passed like the one to increase FDI in insurance sector, Pension Reforms bill, Goods and Services Tax Bill, Public Procurement Policy and the Lokpal Bill.
Singh said “I would like to appeal to all political parties which have interest of the country at heart that we can work together. Politics will continue to divide but there are limits to which we can carry political perception”.
With the support of all political parties, the Prime Minister said “we can concentrate on the essential pieces of legislation like the passage of the bill to raise FDI in insurance sector, to pass the bill on Pension Reforms, the GST and Lokpal.”
“We want to also put in place public procurement policies. We also have structured Bills in the field of education. If we have the consensus on all the bills among the parties, then the Indian economy has the capacity to weather the storm and come out of that successfully,” he said.
Restless Opposition Trying To Force Early Elections
Taking the attack on the opposition, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused certain “forces” of trying to destabilise polity and said that a “restless opposition” was attempting to force early elections.
He told journalists travelling with him on board Air India One from New York back home that the opposition had found “some weak points” in his government and therefore, feel they can force elections.
“This is not the way. This government has the mandate for five years. It will stay its course and we will do so,” an assertive Singh said.
Admitting that there could be a problem of perception about his government, he said there was a need to correct that.
He then went on to add that he suspected that there were “other forces”, which he did not identify, who wanted to “destabilise our polity”.
Speaking in the backdrop of perceived differences between finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram, Singh maintained that he was not aware of any “ministerial fight” being talked about in the media.
His comments came at a time when he is seeking to put an end to the controversy triggered by a finance ministry note which suggested that Chidambaram as finance minister in 2008 should have insisted on auctioning of 2G spectrum, a failure which led to the scam.