NATIONAL

Expedite reforms: Naidu

NEW DELHI OCT. 5. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, has emphasised the need to expedite economic reforms so as to meet the objective of poverty eradication, employment generation and economic growth and move towards the second generation of reforms.

Refusing to comment on the controversy over disinvestment in public sector oil majors, Mr. Naidu told correspondents here that as a strong votary of reforms, the Telugu Desam Party believed that the only way to give a fillip to economic growth was by promoting investment.

He warned that any confusion or controversy over reforms could seriously jeopardise the national interest, including that of all the States.

Mr. Naidu said that at a time when countries all over the globe had come to believe in economic reforms, all political parties in the country should take note of the global trend and contribute to the expeditious implementation of the second generation reforms.

Mr. Naidu said that reforms went beyond disinvestment and included those in the fields of finance, administration and labour laws.

At the same time, disinvestment should not be seen as if the Government was withdrawing from its responsibility. The Government was essentially there to ensure an effective and efficient utilisation of the scarce resources.

To a question on the argument against reducing Government equity in profit-making public sector undertakings, the Chief Minister said the issue needed to be examined in the context of whether such a move was being made in a company operating under monopolistic conditions and if bringing in competition helped the common man.

Giving an instance, he said the TDP had been advocating the opening up of the telecom sector and now people were reaping the benefits in the form of reduction of tariff, greater access to Internet and related services.

In his view, reforms should be implemented keeping in view the interests of the poor and the vulnerable sections. It was the Government's primary responsibility to come to the aid of such sections of society. The Government had to focus on good governance and not be doing business.

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