BENGALURU: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has advocated the need for fresh thinking in social and economic planning to contain economic inequality and spur economic growth. The inequalities, if allowed to persist, could put our democratic system itself in peril, he cautioned.
Referring to economic reforms he helmed during 1991-96 when he was Union Finance Minister and again during 2004-2014 as Prime Minister, Singh said the liberalisation process was initiated for opening new opportunities for people. The process is still incomplete.
“We need a lot of fresh thinking to work out a new design for our social and economic policy for cohesive and inclusive growth which is a judicious mix of achieving high rate of growth and strong focus on containing the rise in economic inequality. We need a policy that will aid employment generation and also protect our environment,” Singh said in his address after inaugurating the academic session of Bengaluru Ambedkar School of Economics on Wednesday.Quoting from Ambedkar’s address to the Constituent Assembly in 1949, Singh said: “If we continue to deny equality for long, we will put our political democracy in peril. The inequality should be eradicated at the earliest, else the classes who have suffered will blow off the structure of political democracy,” Singh said.
Praise for Siddu, Karnataka
The former PM, a renowned economist himself, was all praise for Karnataka and CM Siddaramaiah who has presented a record 12 budgets. Karnataka is one of the very few states which has successfully implemented the Food Security Act through Anna Bhagya scheme. Singh also appreciated the government for waiving farm loans up to `50,000.“Karnataka is one of the best financially managed states as it has maintained fiscal discipline consistently. The education scenario in Karnataka is also one of the best in the country and it is reflected in the fact that out of about 45,000 foreign students in the country, 13,600 are in Karnataka,” Singh said.
Speed up stalled projects: Rangarajan
Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and head of the Madras School of Economics, C Rangarajan, in his address, expressed concern over the declaine in economic and investment growth rate. He suggested speedy implementation of stalled projects and a discussion with industrialists to remove the impediments for drawing investments. The investment rate, which was 38% of GDP in 2007-08 when the economy logged 9.4% growth, has now declined to 27.4% of GDP, he said.