Denying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s charge that the Opposition was stalling economic reforms, and thus the country’s growth, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj alleged that the economy was being crippled by the differences within the ruling UPA.

Addressing the 85th annual general meeting of the FICCI, which Dr. Singh opened earlier, Ms. Swaraj blamed the differences in the ruling coalition for the delay in pushing through legislation.

The BJP, she pointed out, had supported the government on the pension bill and bailed it out when it lacked the number as the Left insisted on a division.

In his address earlier, Dr. Singh said some decisions were politically difficult and those opposing them were not well versed in global realities or were constrained by outdated ideologies.

Disagreeing with Dr. Singh’s remark that “excessive pessimism” was at the root of the slowdown, Ms. Swaraj argued that a sense of cynicism, which developed in the absence of any initiative on the part of the government, had affected growth. A favourable environment was more important than polices, she said, and the ambience was vitiated by scams that rocked the country every day. In this context, she justified the Opposition’s role as the watchdog, urging introspection on the government’s part, pointing out that these scams were unearthed by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG), a constitutional body.

Alleging that progress of most schemes were tardy, including the Pradhan Mantri Grama Sadhak Yojana, Ms. Swaraj said the government alone was responsible for this.

She suggested a roundtable discussion among the government, the Opposition, the industry and watchdogs such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Central Vigilance Commission and the CAG to create the necessary environment for growth.

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