Advani lauds private sector role in India’s growthFebruary 15th, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Praising the role of the private sector in India’s growth, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader L.K. Advani said Friday that there was also a pressing need to bridge the divide between the rich and the poor in the country. Advani, also the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the next elections, told a high-profile gathering of business leaders at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) annual general meeting here: “Thanks to economic reforms introduced in the early 1990s, much is now changing. I believe that the economy does not depend as much on the government as on the people.”
He said that before liberalisation when the country was under a socialist spell, people did not take the initiative but waited for the government to take action. “I am inclined to believe that the state’s intervention (in the economy) soon after Independence was required. But when P.V. Narssimha Rao and present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ushered in the reforms in 1990s, we supported them.”
The Leader of Opposition said: “We proved those people wrong who thought we may not continue with the reforms when we came to power.” He added that the BJP has been consistent throughout in its policy towards encouraging free enterprise.
“Today people praise Tata’s Nano (the Rs.100,000 car) but there was a time when the term Tata-Birla was used pejoratively,” he said.
The BJP was till a decade ago known as a party of the business class and industrialists. It also drew flak for its stand on swadeshi (Indian made) goods. Taking a dig at his party’s critics, Advani said, “We support reforms and have no dogmas.”
Advani said that along with growth the need for bridging the divide between the rich and the poor was paramount. “A report by Bimal Jalan, former governor of Reserve Bank of India, states that 20 richest Indians earn as much as 30 crore (300 million) poorest people in our country. Another report says 860 million Indians earn only Rs.20 a day.”
Expressing his party’s stand, Advani said that for the BJP, the term GDP stands for Good Governance, Development and Protection (or security). He said democracy, end of licence-permit-quota system and India conducting the nuclear test in 1998 were the three things that had earned the country respect around the world.
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