New Delhi: With the opposition in a perennial combat mode, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday asked parliamentary parties to strike
a balance between adversarial political positions on issues and
cooperating on long-term national agenda.
He also made a powerful appeal to various stakeholders to reverse the
mood of "negativism" because both optimism and pessimism have an
"Elected governments can deliver only if... the political process works
to allow government to function in a manner where the needs of longer
term development do not become hostage to short term concerns.
"What this means is that parliamentary parties have to strike a
difficult balance between maintaining adversarial political positions
on many issues, while also cooperating to advance longer term national
agenda. This balance is not easy to strike," he said addressing the
National Development Council (NDC) here.
The NDC, attended by Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and Planning
Commission members, has been convened to discuss the 12th Five Year
Plan Approach Paper.
He said at times like this it was of vital importance that "democratic
institutions, like the executive; judiciary; parliament and state
legislatures; constitutional and regulatory authorities, understand
their due role and play that in a constructive manner".
Singh said it was their collective responsibility to reverse the mood
of negativism Saturday. "The future is what we make of it. Nothing is
ordained or pre-determined. India can rise, but India can also falter.
We live in a world of rising and faltering economies.
"We can either become victims of negativism, criticising ourselves all
the way, or work together to put ourselves firmly in the group of
rising economies. Both optimism and pessimism have an infectious
Asserting that current economic slowdown was a matter of concern, Singh
said, "it should be seen as a short-term phenomenon, reflecting highly
unsettled conditions in the world economy...we must guard against the
mood of negativism that seems to have gripped the country."
As regards the 9 percent growth target for the 12th Plan, the Prime
Minister said, "it is relevant to ask whether this is feasible since
the economy is currently slowing down".
While setting targets for the next Plan, he added, "we must look at
longer term potential, assuming that the immediate short-term problems
will be overcome. I have absolutely no doubt that our country's longer
term prospects are very good".
Growth rates, he added, were being revised downwards in all the countries for the current year.
Indian economy, which recorded a growth rate of 8.5 percent in 2010-11,
is expected to moderate to about 8 percent during the current fiscal.
During the first quarter of the current fiscal the growth slipped to
7.7 percent from 8.8 percent a year ago.
Pointing out that the world is going through a major realignment of
economic power and emerging markets are becoming important, Singh said,
"Our policies in the 12th Five
Year Plan must, therefore, be shaped to take full advantage of these emerging possibilities."
He said although much of the growth is driven by private sector, the
government has a role to play in providing a policy environment for
encouraging farmers and entrepreneurs.
"This includes an environment of macro-economic stability, efficient
functioning markets... a sound financial system for allocating
financial resources, good governance with transparency and effective
enforcement of the rule of law," Singh added.