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Updated: April 22, 2012 19:58 IST

No policy paralysis in New Delhi: Pranab

PTI
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Rejecting criticism about lack of decisions, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee contended that the UPA Government has taken a number of policy decisions in recent months. File photo
PTI
Rejecting criticism about lack of decisions, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee contended that the UPA Government has taken a number of policy decisions in recent months. File photo

Dismissing the perception of policy paralysis in UPA-2, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that compulsions of coalition politics were forcing the government to evolve consensus on major issues and was confident that key reform legislations will be passed.

“There is no question of policy paralysis in New Delhi. I do not agree with them,” Mr. Mukherjee told PTI in an interview.

The Finance Minister was replying to apprehensions expressed by Corporate America over the perceived policy paralysis in the government and Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu’s comments that there may not be any big ticket reforms till elections in 2014.

Rejecting criticism about lack of decisions, Mr. Mukherjee contended that the government has taken a number of policy decisions in recent months.

“We have a new manufacturing policy, very recently. It’s in operation. We have announced earlier that we will institute infrastructure debt fund. We have created infrastructure debt fund,” the minister, who is in Washington to attend the annual Spring meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, said.

“We announced that we shall make easy access to commercial borrowing. Series of measures for easy access to commercial borrowing have been done. I do not agree with their perception with the so called policy paralysis. There is no policy paralysis,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

On coalition politics, he said it has become a pattern now. “I am not quite sure whether by 2014 Indian electorate is going to give a decisive verdict. And when there are coalition politics we shall have to keep coalition partners with us. It is time-consuming but there is no other alternative.

“People will have to be on board and in order to have them on board we shall have to persuade them, we shall have to carry dialogue and discussions with them. This is the only way through which we build up consensus.”

On major reform legislations, Mr. Mukherjee said he was trying to get three legislations -- Pension Fund Regulatory Act, Insurance Act and Banking Amendment Act -- passed.

“Each has been recommended by the relevant Parliamentary Standing Committees and are under the considerations of the Parliament,” he said, asserting that reforms are an instrumentality.

The Finance Minister said the government has set its sight on achieving the goal of putting back the economy on higher growth path and controlling inflation.

“My first priority is to bring back the economy in higher growth path and to control inflation,” Mr. Mukherjee said, adding that even an inflation of six to seven per cent is too high for him.

“Of course inflation has increased that is seasonal. Third is to consolidate the fiscal situation. Fiscal deficit is high. So fiscal consolidation is to be achieved, inflation has to be moderated, high growth rate to be achieved. These are to be the priorities of the Finance Minister,” he said.

Time and again Mr. Mukherjee has been expressing his concern over the increasing inflation.

“On agricultural supply constraints, we have taken steps in budget we announced certain measures so that with higher production of those commodities which require, which are in short supply with the removal of that supply constraints it would be possible to reduce the inflationary pressure,” he said.

“From the demand side, three consecutive years, we enhanced the interest rate. So excess liquidity has been mopped up from the market, and these are the situation that always ought to be kept under watch.

“If we can achieve fiscal consolidation that will also have an impact on the inflation, inflation would be reduced,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

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Don't call it policy paralysis, but name it a tail wagging the dog syndrome. Mamata has sent an ultimatum to the Centre seeking a moratorium on repayment of loan by her state, knowing fully well that weak center can be exploited to the hilt. Pranab cannot fool the public merely by denying policy paralysis at center. It is also well known fact that the Center is no position to carry forward economic reforms with "coalition compulsion" mill stone around its neck. We breathless await for the demise UPA 2 for infusion of fresh life to the stagnating economy.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Apr 22, 2012 at 21:58 IST

I do not know, why Progress Report on government's performance need to be given in Washington,as if to satisfy US that everything is fine here and the government is doing its best. Performance Reports detailing the "achievements against targets" ought to be given to the people (say every quarter),who have elected them.

from:  KS Raghunathan
Posted on: Apr 22, 2012 at 21:44 IST

Dear Editor: The finance minister is mistaken in his assessment or is reluctant to admit. The fact is that the current Congress political leadership is extremely weak and has compromised on various fronts including corruption. That is what is preventing effective governance. The BJP is no different situation. So it is a question of choosing the lesser of the two evils.

from:  Dwarakanath Srinivasan
Posted on: Apr 22, 2012 at 20:31 IST

Pranab Mukerji talks like a frustrated politician. He has no vision for the future of our country especially after seeing the corruption by his own colleagues in Congress party and the inaction by his chosen Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Poor fellow, he should at the best retire now or contest for President ship of our country.

from:  K. Sanckar
Posted on: Apr 22, 2012 at 20:10 IST
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