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No time for reforms?

As an embattled government fights a barrage of criticism over events leading to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's arrest, India's industry is worried that the resulting parliamentary logjam could lead to further delays in reforms. HT reports. Anna, Business, Cabinet, Delays?

business Updated: Aug 18, 2011 02:06 IST
HT Correspondent

As an embattled government fights a barrage of criticism over events leading to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's arrest, India's industry is worried that the resulting parliamentary logjam could lead to further delays in reforms.

Industry at the same time is sounding sympathetic to calls for greater transparency in governance and respect for citizens' democratic rights.

"Democracy means no voice, however small, must go unheard," Anand Mahindra, vice- chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra said on Tuesday at the microblogging site Twitter as pro-Anna protests raged across the nation.

"The anti-corruption sentiment is not a whisper. It's a scream. Grave error to ignore it," Mahindra tweeted.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/180811/18_08_biz1.jpg

On the other hand investors appear more worried that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will stall reforms needed to boost long-term growth in the world's second fastest growing major economy in areas such as retail and insurance.

Last month, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee brushed aside widespread accusations of policy paralysis, but foreign and domestic investors are not convinced.

Industry wants hassle-free and transparent investment procedures, but corruption scandals appear to have blurred the government's focus.

"It is important to ensure speedier implementation of some issues. The government has promised to ‘fast-track' reforms in the coming weeks. Let's wait and see," said the head of an industry lobby group, who did not wish to be identified.

"If there is a deficit that needs to be breached immediately, it is the trust deficit that is beginning to creep up between the government and corporate India," Kotak Institutional Securities said in a research report that discussed governance.

"India's vibrant democracy and strong institutional framework are pre-requisites for investment and thus need to be preserved and reinforced," Harsh Mariwala, president of industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said on Tuesday.