Private sector being given a larger space to operate

The new economic policies followed by India in the post-1991 years aim to create a ‘different government’ with ‘more market’ rather than ‘less government,’ C. Rangarajan, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said on Monday.

The economic reforms do not take away the role of State and have only redefined it through reducing it in some areas and expanding in others.

He was addressing the 25th Convocation of Alagappa University in Karaikudi, in which the Governor and Chancellor of the varsity K. Rosaiah conferred degrees on 210 students.

The private sector was being given a larger space to operate in some areas earlier reserved exclusively for public sector, which would have to compete with private players even while playing a dominant role, he said.

The average annual growth rate of 6.9 per cent in the post-reform years vindicate the reforms, Dr. Rangarajan said, adding that even in the recent crisis-affected years, the seven-year average growth rate since 2005-06 was 8.3 per cent. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average of 7 per cent.

While economic activity had moderated substantially in 2011-12, he said that during the current fiscal, performance would improve in the second half of the year and the overall growth rate would stay at last year’s level.

Stressing the need to reverse the declining trend in savings and investment rates, he said that macro-economic concerns remained in inflation, balance of payment and fiscal deficit areas.

While all policy instruments such as intervention in food grain market and monetary and fiscal policies must be used to re-anchor inflationary expectations at 5 per cent, he said that the mismatch between capital flows and current account deficit (CAD) was putting pressure on the rupee.

The CAD must be kept at 2.5 per cent of the GDP, he said, adding that fiscal deficit must be reduced to 5.1 per cent of GDP from the present levels of 5.9 per cent through policy actions that may not be popular. It was in this context that the recent decision to hike diesel prices must be viewed, he added

Speaking earlier, P. Palaniappan, Higher Education Minister, said that the Jayalalithaa-led State Government was determined to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio to 25 per cent by 2025.

Towards this purpose, 32 colleges have been established so far and Rs. 1.60 crore was provided to the ten universities in the State.

Mr. Palaniappan who is also the Pro-Chancellor of the University, noted that it was re-accredited with ‘A’ grade by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with the highest score among all universities in Tamil Nadu. Further, a constituent college under the jurisdiction of Alagappa University was also opened by the Chief Minister to help rural students pursue higher education.

Vice Chancellor of the university S. Sudalaimuthu informed that around 36,239 candidates were awarded degrees this year including 112 Ph.Ds. There were a total of 98 rank holders.

Around 1.59 lakh students were pursuing their studies under various streams of the university, which had 26 affiliated colleges in Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram offering education to another 25,000 students.

Alagappa University, Prof. Sudalaimuthu said, was involved in 61 projects involving various agencies with funding to the tune of Rs. 9.22 crore.

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