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Updated: October 12, 2009 00:02 IST

Manmohan: worst of economic downturn is over

Staff Reporter
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A file picture of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Photo: H. Satish
The Hindu A file picture of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Photo: H. Satish

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that India had weathered the recent global economic downturn with greater success than most other countries and the worst was over.

Addressing a press conference at the National Centre for the Performing Arts here, Dr. Singh said the government was doing all that was required to tackle the problem of rising prices. “Unfortunately, a number of factors have contributed to the inflationary trend in the prices of essential commodities. These include the rise in prices of commodities in the international markets, an inadequate monsoon and the increased support prices to farmers for their produce.”

With “unprecedented rates of growth in the last few years... we have weathered the recent global economic downturn with greater success than most other countries,” he stated.

Judicial reforms

On the controversy involving Justice Dinakaran, Dr. Singh said, “There is a case for paying attention to judicial reform. I sincerely hope the judiciary itself will take effective steps in this regard.”

CEO salaries

In Mumbai, the financial capital of India, Dr. Singh seemed to change tack on his stand on the salaries of Chief Executive Officers.

Speaking right after a meeting with industry honchos, Dr. Singh said: “The government as such has not taken a view on CEO salaries. In my address to one of the meetings of CII [Confederation of Indian Industry], I had raised the issue in a general way.

The salaries are decided by the boards of companies and the government as such has no intention of imposing any restriction on the CEO salaries … As for assets [of candidates contesting elections], the first important step is that this information is available to the people. If there are false declarations, it gives an opportunity to the people to challenge them. That itself ensures greater accountability.”

Power crisis

He conceded there was a deficiency of power in our country. “Peaking requirement exceeds the availability of power. We have to do some serious thinking with regards to the power systems. Transmission distribution losses are high. We have to increase capacity in this Five-Year Plan. We have plans to increase capacity of up to 8000 megawatts,” Dr. Singh said.

To address irrigation, Dr. Singh referred to the larger issue of interlinking of the river basin system. “It is a difficult proposition, with some adverse environmental consequences. All this has to be taken into account. Two to three basin project reports are ready and one of them will be ready in a couple of months,” he said.

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