Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday shrugged off criticism and fears about government’s lack of intent to push through key reforms in critical areas of the economy stating the UPA government was building consensus on important issues including in those on politically contentious pensions and retail sectors.
“Commitment on FDI ( foreign direct investment), PFRDA (pension fund regulatory development authority ), all the major legislations, which are part of the new generation reforms, are very much in the mind of the government. We are working hard to build consensus,” he said, while speaking on the annual general meeting of the industry chamber PHDCCI.
The government had decided to allow up to 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, but suspended the decision following howls of protest from opposition parties and key allies of the government, who argued that it will endanger the livelihood of millions of small kirana store owners and street vendors.
“Sometimes we have problems and it creates confusion that even after announcement of a policy, the government has to stop... that does not mean that we have shelved it,” he said.
The government had also planned to introduce an amended PFRDA Bill that would have provided old-age income security to millions in a regulated environment, but have held it back due to political opposition.
“We decided to have PFRDA legislated in this session, but could not do so ...not because of lack of intention or commitment...you have to recognise the very hard fact that legislation requires numbers which unfortunately Indian electorate has not given to us,” Mukherjee said.