Let’s get back to the business of growth: Chidambaram

July 27th, 2011 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The government’s drive to improve its image amid various corruption scams continued Wednesday with Home Minister P. Chidambaram saying that growth and the reforms process should be brought back to the centre stage instead of being bogged down by such scandals.

“Yes, we recognise the problem of corruption. We recognise the problem of security. We are addressing it, but let’s not get bogged down by it,” Chidambaram said referring to the hue and cry surrounding scandals like grant of second generation spectrum licenses and financial irregularities in the preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

“Let’s get back to the business of growth,” the home minister said at a function organised by FICCI, adding that the economy was likely to grow by 8-8.5 percent in the current fiscal.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s second tenure has been marred by a series of scandals, resulting in the opposition attacking it vehemently.

Led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior ministers have recently increasingly highlighted the government’s achievements and outlined steps to fasten reforms and curb corruption.

Incidentally, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee too had an interactive session with select media Wednesday — the third in a series of such meetings — and tried to allay concerns over recovery of black money.

Citing the example of the scam perpetrated by stock broker Harshad Mehta, which shook the Indian equities markets in 1992, Chidambaram said Congres-led governments had overcome such incidents in the past as well and would do so even now.

“(The) stock market scam threatened to occupy the centre stage but we overcame it. We will do it now also,” said Chidambaram.

He said the recent corruption scandals had been hyped and did not mean that there was an absence of governance.

Chidambaram, who was the finance minister in the first UPA government in 2004, said that the real second wave of reforms started in 2004 that accelerated growth from 5-6 percent to 8-9 percent.

“After 2005, we addressed large number of issues like right to education, right to employment, food security… that has helped us sustain growth of 8-9 percent. Had these issues not been addressed the growth would not have been possible.

“Let’s rediscover the virtue of growth and reforms,” he said adding that India could not afford to slow the pace of reforms given the levels of problem of poverty and unemployment,” Chidambaram said.

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