Govt. and industry are partners in progress: Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Apr 3 (ANI): Asserting that government and industry have to be partners in India's growth story, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday

said the government is willing to do everything to bring the economy back on the high growth path.

Addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, Dr. Singh said: "I have always believed that both government and business have to be partners in writing the story of development of this ancient land of ours, and CII has been a greatly valued partner over the past many years."

"As different governments have steered the economy through the complex task of implementing economic reforms, CII has consistently pushed the business case for reforms and helped our country to achieve its full economic potential," he added.

Lauding the CII, Dr. Singh said: "I benefited greatly from this partnership as the Finance Minister in the 1990s and I welcome it today as Prime Minister. I thank Adi Godrej for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with captains of Indian industry, at a time when I know Industry is deeply interested in the state of our economy."

"I last addressed your Annual session seven years ago in 2007. That was just before the global economic crisis, when the world was booming, the collapse of Lehman Brothers was a year away, and India was experiencing growth at over 9 percent per annum. Circumstances have changed since then, not just in India but all over the world," he said.

"In my last address I chose to strike a contrarian note. At a time when everything seemed to be going exceptionally well, I struck a note of caution. I said that while we have achieved much, we also have a great deal more to do to create a growth process that is truly inclusive," he said.

"I also said that while the visible growth and prosperity of Indian big business, including especially its presence abroad, was in many ways a projection of India's success, there was also need to reflect on the social responsibilities of business. I specifically mentioned the need for restraint in the matter of paying salaries and conspicuous consumption," he added.

He further recalled: "Some of my friends later told me that my remarks seemed unnecessarily downbeat at the time, but you will agree that these are precisely the issues that began to receive global attention in the aftermath of the global economic crisis."

"I propose to strike a contrarian note once again. If the business mood was unduly optimistic in 2007, I think it is unduly pessimistic today. This needs correction. Let me explain," he said.

"In 2007, I often heard it said that government had become irrelevant because India will grow at 9 percent whatever the government does. The consensus today is that unless the Government acts swiftly, our growth, which has already decelerated, will be perennially stuck at 5 percent," he added.

Dr. Singh further said: "Naturally, I welcome the rediscovery on the part of business of the importance of government! More seriously, I do believe that the role of government at this stage is indeed crucial. I do not believe our future is 5 per cent growth. We grew at an average of about 8 percent in the last ten years and we can get there again. And that should be our combined endeavour. But this calls for speedy and decisive government action."

"Government is not the prime mover of growth. In a private sector led economy - and I repeat, we are a private sector led economy with 75% of investment being in the private sector which includes farmers, small businesses and the corporate sector - the driver of growth is indeed private investment. But the private sector needs an environment in which enterprise can flourish and create both jobs and stimulate growth. It needs an environment, which will ensure that this growth is inclusive. The environment today is not what it should be, and that is what the Government must correct," he added. (ANI)

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