Politicians have to think of the next election and business leaders of the next quarter, but together they can think of the next generation and transform economy and society, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.
Inaugurating the 79th Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi, he said: "In a democracy politicians will perforce take a short-term view. After all, one has to be in office to make a difference! A politician has to think of the next election, even if he speaks for the next generation!"
Addressing the captains of industry, he added, "You might perhaps say that your horizon is even more limited. That you have to think about the next quarter's balance sheet results! That is fair enough."
The prime minister's candid observation evoked a mild laughter from the captains of industries.
But he went on to add, "(Yet) I am convinced that if we act wisely and with the best interests of the country at heart, we can transform our economy and society.
"It is incumbent upon all of us to think of our country's future, and the need to build a progressive and equitable polity and society. It is with this sense of patriotism and forward looking thinking that FICCI came into being. I urge you all to continue to work with that spirit.
"I believe we are on the threshold of a new era of knowledge-based development. The country requires long-term and strategic thinking," he added.