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Updated: November 30, 2009 15:34 IST

Cannot produce reforms like rabbits out of a hat: PM

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A file picture of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
A file picture of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Citing coalition compulsions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said economic reforms need to be in tune with the political climate of a country and cannot be produced like "rabbits out of a hat".

“I think we cannot produce the reforms like rabbits out of a hat. Reforms have to respond to the political climate, what is saleable, what I can sell to our coalition partners,” Mr. Singh told Fareed Zakaria of the CNN in an interview.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question that many of his admirers are disappointed about the slow pace of economic reforms in India.

“You know the compulsions of managing a coalition in which there are several parties, the Left parties. That, naturally, restrained our - constrained our ability to move forward,” the Prime Minister said in the second part of his interview telecast on Sunday.

The first part of the CNN interview, taken in New Delhi before his departure for Washington on a state visit, was telecast last Sunday.

“I think the big-ticket reforms were completed by us while we were in office, from ‘91 to ‘96,” he said adding that now it is a question of improving quality of administration, quality of delivery of services and infrastructure.

“And the bulk of this infrastructure is in the public sector. Those issues we are going to attend. We are paying a lot more attention to improving the quality and the management of our infrastructure than ever before,” he said.

When asked what his legacy would be as the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Singh said: “Well, my legacy may be the fact that four years before the international economic crisis erupted, our country’s economy grew at the rate of nine per cent per annum.

“Now, people do not think whether we can grow at the rate of five or six per cent. Nine per cent or eight per cent is considered the normal rate of growth,” he said.

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