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Expect more reforms in the Budget: PM

Source : PTI
Last Updated: Wed, Feb 16, 2011 13:17 hrs
Manmohan Singh says govt to press ahead with reforms

Stressing that the government has not given up on reforms, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday  said more of these will be unveiled in the 2011-12 Budget.

He, though, blamed the Opposition for delaying the introduction of crucial Bills in Parliament.

"No, we have not given up on reforms. We will persist... I sincerely hope in the (upcoming) Budget we will see a clearer picture of the reform agenda," Singh told editors of the electronic media. 

Expressing confidence that inflation rate should be "no more than 7 per cent" by March-end from 8.23 per cent in January, Singh said the government's effort has been to rein in high prices without hurting growth, which he projected to be at 8.5 per cent this fiscal.

Full Coverage: Budget 2011-2012

He said global factors like high crude and food prices were not under the control of the government and that efforts were being made to insulate the poor through programmes like NREGA and keeping prices at state-run ration shops unchanged since 2002.

"We want to deal it (inflation) in a manner that the growth rhythm is not disturbed. If we were concerned only in curbing inflation we could have done with pursuing tighter monetary policies...if in the process the growth rate gets hurt that would not do our country any good," he said.

He, however, blamed the Opposition, particularly the BJP, for not allowing Parliament to function, thereby delaying the introduction of more reforms.

Singh blamed the Opposition for the delay in introduction of the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Service Tax, saying, "When the Parliament is not allowed to function, when the Opposition do not wish to cooperate with the path-breaking reforms of Goods and Services Tax (GST)... This is a reform which is needed."

The Opposition, "particularly the BJP, has taken a very hostile attitude," he added.

He reiterated that the government has been working on a host of reform initiatives, some of which have already been successful.

How taxing 657 Indians 1% could yield Rs 16,000 crores!

"We are working on a Food Security Bill, the Right to Education is now a reality... The ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) is a reality... and also the National Rural Health Mission," Singh said.

He further said: "In the same way, I believe we are going to have a fresh wave of infrastructure investment with the help of PPP (public-private partnership) model." 

Stating that discussions are going on to create a infrastructure development fund, he said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee may make some announcements. "Some discussions are going on...and most probably, Finance Minister will outline something in that direction."

India needs investment to the tune of over one trillion dollars in the 12th five year plan (in 2012-17) to sustain a growth rate of 8-9 per cent.

When asked from where the country would mop up resources, he said: "We must create a viable corporate debt market. I think that is the direction in which we must move."

Also See: The $1.5-trillion-dollar puzzle India needs to solve

Commenting on the drop in FDI, Singh admitted there was a need for "favourable" environment for fund flow from abroad.

"We need to strengthen the resolve to create favourable environment for larger flow of funds from abroad," he said.



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