Reforms will top government’s agenda, says President (Lead)

February 21st, 2011 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Drawing comfort from the high growth of the Indian economy despite the global meltdown, President Pratibha Patil Monday promised to hasten the reforms process with specific emphasis on not just attracting domestic and overseas capital into key areas but also to advance social inclusion.”The policies we followed to handle the global financial meltdown stand vindicated. However, there is no room for complacency,” the president told the joint sitting of the two houses of parliament Monday, inaugurating the budet session.

“We have to maintain the momentum for reforms on a wide front,” the president added, setting the agenda for the ensuing session of parliament that will see the presentation of the federal budget, among other important legislative matters.

“We have to strive to make the domestic environment more conducive to investment, encouraging public as well as private investment and domestic as well as foreign investment, particularly foreign direct investment.”

Patil said the issues that the government will specifically target include a new legislation to ensure food security, access to energy, rapid industrial development with social inclusion, a new minerals policy and safe and reliable transportation system.

“I had announced earlier my government’s commitment to bring a food security law that will entitle statutorily every family, below poverty line, to food grains at highly subsidized prices. The states are being consulted as success of the programme hinges on their commitment to reforms in the public distribution system,” said the president.

Patil also called for reforms in the electricity sector — an area which is critical to growth of the economy and bring about inclusive growth across the country.

“Supply of quality power at reasonable prices to all, including farmers, will be possible if there is greater efficiency in the power sector. This requires concerted action on reforms in the power sector, particularly in improving the financial and technical capabilities of the electricity distribution companies in the states.”

On the same lines, she spoke about a new legislation that seeks to replace the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, which “will, among other measures, ensure that local communities benefit adequately from the development process”.

Underlining the need for a fast and reliable transport system and building connectivity across the country, Patil said: “An efficient, reliable and safe transport system is vital for fostering rapid economic growth.”

“My government has set up a high level National Transport Development Policy Committee for evolving a policy framework to provide an integrated and sustainable transport system,” she said.

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