KARNATAKA

Financial reforms will now be accelerated: Chidambaram

A STEP FORWARD: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw at a book reading in Bangalore on Friday.

A STEP FORWARD: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw at a book reading in Bangalore on Friday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Staff Reporter

We will push forward pending legislation, says Union Finance Minister



‘Loan waiver only to bring back farmer to agriculture’

‘Can we import food for a billion people?’



Bangalore: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said the financial reforms process will be accelerated within the next 10 months by pushing forward the pending legislation and Bills which could not be done so far due to “coalition compulsions”.

He was speaking at a reading of his book, “A View from the Outside: Why Good Economics Works for Everyone”, organised by The Express Group at Crossword bookstore here.

Public-private

Elaborating his plans on the reforms, he said he would like to “completely blur the line between the public and private sectors” by “handing over even ‘parts of the government’ for public-private partnership.”

“I had urged the Prime Minister to pass the Banking Bill, Pension Bill, and Insurance Bill, which would have helped us to achieve 10 percent growth.”

Mr. Chidambaram dubbed the Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s criticism of the recent loan waiver to the farmers as “an elitist approach.” Suicides of thousands of farmers “clearly symbolise the symptoms of a grave disease spreading throughout the country,” he said.

“Farmers are sinking in debt and unable to grow, and large tracts of land are lying fallow. Can we import food for a billion people?” he asked.

The loan waiver scheme was required to bring farmers back to agriculture, Mr. Chidambaram added.

He reminded the heads of the industrial houses present there about the loan written off under “high-sounding acronyms like CDR (corporate debt restructuring)”.

Inflation

Answering a question from the audience about the failure of the Government to control rising inflation, he said, “We have maintained a nine per cent growth for the last four years, the tax-GDP ratio has increased from nine per cent to 30 per cent since we assumed the office, and there has been a record production in wheat, paddy, cotton and sugarcane, in the since last six years.”

However, “these achievements have been wiped out in one year of inflation, which owes mainly to the fuel crisis and financial turmoil in the international market and commodity price rise, he said. The tight monetary policy, which was in force, would bring down the prices.

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