Pranab promises more investment in infrastructure, rural development

February 22nd, 2009 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 22 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday stressed the need for stimulating domestic demand and supply to overcome the economic slowdown, and said the government would step up investment in infrastructure and rural development.
Mukherjee, who is also holding the finance portfolio, said the government favoured a unanimous approach in tackling the recessionary impact. “There is a global recession. An economic crisis is looming. We are unanimous as we deeply ponder over ways to overcome this crisis”.

He, however, said the situation was not that bad in India as it had only drawn on the good aspects of the market economy, while shunning its negative sides.

“And just as I don’t believe that nationalisation is the panacea for all problems, similarly I don’t agree with the doctrine of the 1990s that privatisation can solve all problems,” the minister said.

“We now have to increase internal demand and supply. We have to do it fast,” he said, adding: “For this, we have to invest in infrastructure, development of the rural economy and create additional employment opportunities.”

Mukherjee announced that the central government has sanctioned 1,200 buses for Kolkata at a total expenditure of Rs.3.6 billion (Rs.360 crore). The centre will pump in Rs.1.25 billion, with the remaining amount coming from other agencies.

Another set of 100 buses at a cost of Rs.220 million will be provided to Asansol town in the state’s Burdwan district. The central government will bear half of the cost.

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