Congress promises affirmative action, food security actMarch 24th, 2009 - 5:27 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Promising such populist steps like affirmative action in the private sector and a right to food act, the Congress party Tuesday said its economic policy will focus on inclusive growth, middle path and low inflation if voted back to power.
“The Indian National Congress will put in place measures to ensure that the momentum of growth is maintained,” said the party’s election manifesto that was released here by its chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The focus of the new measures will be to stimulate demand in the domestic economy and to ensure that there is more purchasing power in the hands of the people and more liquidity in the hands of companies.”
The party said it will also follow the middle path, striking a balance between globalisation and indigenous development, the needs of urban and rural India, regulation and entrepreneurship, organised and unorganised sector, and new and traditional industries.
“Balance, or the middle path, has always been the hall-mark of the policies of the Indian National Congress,” the manifesto said, adding: “This balance is needed now more than ever.”
The 33-page document said the Congress was fully aware that the world economy faced the worst crisis in 50 years. “This crisis has been caused by a failure of financial markets in the USA and in other developed countries.”
Yet, the manifesto said, Indian economy had shown considerable resilience under the most adverse international circumstances, as an outcome of the policies of successive Congress governments.
It said the average rate of economic growth during the tenure of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led regime was just 5.8 per year, compared to 8.5 percent during the five year tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
It said 2008-09 was a difficult year for the Indian economy and that growth will be around 7 percent. “That is why our immediate priority is to revive the economy and restore the high growth witnessed in the first four years of the Congress-led UPA government.”
The party also said that it was deeply committed to pursuing affirmative action for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in private sector, and that a national debate had already been initiated on this issue.
“It also pledges to carve out a reservation for the economically weaker sections of all communities without prejudice to existing reservations for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes.”
The other promises toward economic development made in the manifesto include:
-Massive renewal of our extensive science and technology infrastructure
-High growth with fiscal prudence and low inflation
-Goods and services tax from April 1, 2010
-Energy security for our country
-Steps to protect India’s natural environment and rejuvenate it
-Connecting all villages to broadband network in three years
-Intensifying the involvement of overseas Indians in development
-New look to urban governance
-Nation-wide skill development programme
-Special focus on small entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises
-New schemes for improving well-being of farmers
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