CPI-M lashes out as Chidambaram hints at more economic reforms

Kolkata, June 15 (IANS) With union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram hinting that more reforms are in the offing to boost India's slowing economic growth, the CPI-M Saturday hit out at the Manmohan Singh government, regretting that despite "repeated failures" of its reform policies, it was sticking to the "same remedy".

"Whatever is the disease of the India economy, for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the only panacea is reform measures. And this treatment is being pursued diligently by his Finance Minister P. Chidambaram," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said in an editorial in its Bengali mouthpiece Ganashakti.

The CPI-M said the Manmohan Singh government was still sticking to its reforms agenda as it did not learn from the past experiences.

"During September last year, the government had announced a slew of reforms to boost dwindling GDP growth. But that did not yield any positive result. Further the economic conditions worsened," it observed.

Production was falling in every sector and so were the incomes, the party said.

While the country's economic growth slumped to a decade-low of 5 percent in the last financial year, government data showed industrial output growth fell to 2 percent in April due to sluggish performance of manufacturing and mining sectors.

Factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) registered a growth of 2 percent in April as compared to 2.5 percent registered in the previous month, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The rupee also depreciated by nearly 8 percent against the US dollar during the last one-and-a-half months, forcing different firms to consider increasing the prices of their products.

"In this challenging situation, the companies are cutting wages and even resorting to job cuts. The government is also going ahead with cuts in its spending in several development programmes in order to check fiscal deficit. These factors are severely impacting general people," the editorial said.

"And now Chidambaram is stating that within two months, the government will announce a number reform measures. It is only to ensure more foreign investment into the economy. But common people will not get any respite it seems that Singh and Chidambaram did not learn from mistakes," it said.

A couple of days ago, Chidambaram said he was "looking forward to more reforms".

"I expect a number of decisions in the next few days and weeks... In June, you can expect a number of decisions taken and implemented that will accelerate reforms and spur investments in critical sectors," he had said.

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