Fractured mandate deters implementation of ‘obvious’ policies

November 14th, 2007 - 2:44 am ICT by admin  
“Given the nature of competitive politics and the fractured mandates given to Governments, it has, I must admit, become difficult sometimes for us to do what is manifestly obvious,” Singh said while addressing the McKinsey Company’s Directors Conference, a day after he reportedly told the UPA coalition partners of being ‘embarrassed’ by the prospect of going back on the deal.

Singh’s remarks also highlight the pulls and pressures that a coalition government has to live with.

More than a decade has passed in the Indian polity since a single-party government has ruled the country. The last government that could be referred very close to a single party rule was of P V Narasimha Rao that completed its term in 1996. Singh was then Union Finance Minister and began the economic reforms.

This was followed by coalitions led by Deve Gowda, I K Gujral, and Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Singh today also said, that Indian economy sustained close to 9 per cent growth for continuous years.

“You must compare this number against the fact that for almost three decades after Independence, our annual growth rate was a mere 3.5 per cent,” Singh added.

Recalling the economic reforms of 1991, Singh said that it had unleashed a new era of entrepreneurial growth in the country.

He, however, admitted that the country has a long road to travel before it can claim to have fulfilled Mahatma Gandhi’s prayer to wipe the last tear from the poorest of the poor.

“Our Government has been committed to making the growth process more inclusive socially,” Singh said.

Enlisting the Central Government’s initiative to bring rural prosperity in the country, the Prime Minister said: “We have launched a number of initiatives to step up investment in agriculture and rural development, in education and health care, in urban renewal and poverty removal, in rural infrastructure and in rural employment generation.”

“These initiatives are bearing now solid results and I am confident, will certainly make the growth process more inclusive in years to come,” he added.

A judicious mix of equity and efficiency considerations is vital in the policy initiatives we undertake, Singh said.

Commenting on the concept of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP), he said that the successful implementation of social and human development initiatives requires greater PPP.

Expressing his concern over the usage of public funds, the Prime Minister said: “I have been deeply concerned about the efficiency of utilization of public funds, especially in infrastructure development but also in education and health care.”

He then again looked at the PPP as solution to overcome this problem.

“I have been looking for ways to combine our concern for equitable outcomes with our concern for efficient utilization of outlays. I find the PPP as an effective means of combining these two considerations,” Manmohan Singh said. (ANI)

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