President Pratibha Patil on Monday said wider economic reforms were required to sustain India's growth momentum with focus on infrastructure development.
"We have to maintain the momentum for reforms on a wide front," she said in her address to both Houses of Parliament to mark the opening of the Budget session of the Parliament.
"The policies we followed to handle the global financial meltdown stand vindicated. However, there is no room for complacency. We have to strive to make the domestic environment more conducive to investment, encouraging public as well as private investment, and domestic as well as foreign investment, particularly foreign direct investment," Patil said.
Patil said infrastructure development was critical for achieving India's growth objectives."The investment of over Rs 20 lakh crore in the Eleventh Plan is more than twice the investment in the Tenth Plan. This is proposed to be doubled in the Twelfth Plan," she said.
The President said the huge quantum of investment cannot be funded by the government alone. It needs to be supplemented by private participation. "The contribution of the private sector has reached 34% of the total investment last year," Patil said. Patil also made a strong pitch for more reforms in the electricity sector.
"Total electrification of all villages is being accorded priority. Supply of quality power at reasonable prices to all, including farmers, will be possible if there is greater efficiency in the power sector. This requires concerted action on reforms in the power sector, particularly in improving the financial and technical capabilities of the electricity distribution companies in the states," Patil said.
The Mines & Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act is proposed to be replaced with a new piece of legislation, which will, among other measures, ensure that local communities benefit adequately from the development process.
"New initiatives will be launched shortly based on the report of the Task Force on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)," she said.