PM Manmohan Singh on Saturday admitted that the domestic economy was facing “difficulties” but was confident that India would be able to overcome these.
“There are difficulties. Life will not be worth living if there are no difficulties. I am confident with great determination, we will overcome (these),” Singh said in his brief remarks at a panel discussion.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shaking hands with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari before a meeting at 7RCR in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo/Shahbaz
The panel discussion on Challenges of Economic Reforms in India was organised by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and the Oxford University Press (OUP) to mark the launch of the book, ‘India’s Economic Reforms and Development: Essays for Manmohan Singh’.
This is the second edition of the volume edited by Isher Judge Ahluwalia, chairperson of ICRIER and eminent economist IMD Little. Amid a slowing economy, the government is facing surging protests of policy paralysis, criticism for a series of scandals and concerns over weakening macro-economic parameters.
Last year, political compulsions had coerced the government to quickly bottle up the flurry of reformist intent including allowing FDI in multi-brand retail and pensions.
“I had accepted this invitation on the condition that I will not speak. I don't wish to break that," Singh said after the discussion in which RBI governor D Subbarao, professor of University of Chicago Raghuram G Rajan and Business Standard chairman TN Ninan participated.
Subbarao admitted there were concerns about some of India’s macroeconomic parameters such as fiscal deficit as also about policy and governance, but the economy was mature enough to absorb ‘shocks’ to keep the growth story going.
“The structure of the economy has changed since 1991. Our financial markets are more mature, more diverse and much deeper. They have the resilience to absorb shocks,” the RBI governor said.
“There are serious concerns about macro-economics, about our policy and governance,” he said. Rajan said immediate steps need to be taken on key aspects of second generation reforms like raising retail prices of fuel, deregulate and align these with international crude price movements.