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'Chalta hai' attitude won't do: PM

Manmohan gives a call to shrug off the laidback approach for India to move fast on the path of economic growth.

india Updated: Dec 24, 2006 17:01 IST

Giving a call to shrug off the "laidback approach", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country has to move fast on the path of economic growth to catch up with its neighbours in east Asia.

"We have to give up our 'chalta hai' (laidback) attitude to move very fast to catch up with our neighbours in east Asia," Singh said at the foundation-laying ceremony for the revival of the Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) in Burnpur.

Singh hinted this approach was responsible for some enterprising and ambitious Indians like Lakshmi Mittal moving out of the country to set up business empires abroad.

"It is indeed an irony that Mittal is today called the steel king of the world. His group is the world's largest steel producer without producing a kilo of steel in India. Mittal started his business in West Bengal," Singh noted.

"Why is it that so many Indians do so well when their enterprise and creativity are allowed to blossom? Why is it that they choose foreign shores for growth and expansion rather than their home turf?" he asked.

Singh said the unfavourable environment in the country continued to discourage industrialists from exploring possiblities on home turf.

"Why does Lakshmi Mittal or Ratan Tata have to buy foreign companies to establish a global presence and expand steel capacity when our per capita consumption of steel is so low and when there is so much opportunity here?" he said.

"Today steel consumption in China is 10 times higher than India and hence there is huge scope.

"We need to introspect on this deeply. Is it to do with our industrial environment, our procedures, our bureaucracy and red tape that entrepreneurs shun opportunities?" he asked.

He said the iron and steel sector was a fair indicator of industrial progress of a country and "by this measure we still have a long way to go to catch up with the fast industrialising economies of Asia".

First Published: Dec 24, 2006 15:21 IST