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Indian party endorses economic reforms

Publication Date : 28-09-2012


The Congress-led central government today got the broad approval of its United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies for the recent spate of its economic reforms moves at the UPA Coordination Committee meeting, although its key allies, especially the DMK (Dravidian Progress Federation), was reported to have struck a discordant note over the government’s decision to restrict subsidised LPG cylinders.

This was the first meeting of the high-level UPA body following the recent exit of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul from the government in protest against the government’s tough decisions to hike diesel price, cap the LPG cylinders’ supply and allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

"We reviewed the situation following the number of decisions announced in the last ten days. There was general satisfaction that many of the steps taken by the government, although some of them would put a burden on the people, have been welcomed by stakeholders as necessary and unavoidable,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after the UPA panel’s meeting. “The need to do more reforms was discussed.”

Chidambaram said by and large the message had gone to the people that these measures were unavoidable and necessary. “We thank the people for their understanding,” he said.

During the hour-long meeting of the UPA Coordination Committee, chaired by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the DMK leader T R Baalu reportedly urged the government to double every household’s entitlement of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12 per annum from the 6 stipulated by the centre a fortnight ago.

Baalu was also said to have scaled down his demand to 9, but that too was not apparently conceded by the Congress leadership. NCP president Sharad Pawar also reportedly supported the DMK’s demand for raising the cap on the cooking gas cylinders. The UPA allies, however, were not said to have flagged their reservations over the two other hard decisions like the diesel price hike or the FDI in multi-brand retail.

At the meeting, the prime minister underlined the need for economic reforms to ensure flow of foreign investment.

"The prime minister underlined the need for a number of measures that will ensure that there is no volatility in the rupee and investments continue to flow into India as well as stimulate domestic investors so that they would also invest in the economy,” Chidambaram said.


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