Democratic set-up requires consensus building: FM
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 13:50
New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the government's pointsman to thrash out solutions to vexatious issues be it on administrative or coalition matters, on Tuesday highlighted the importance of consensus building in a democratic set-up.

"Consensus is the soul of a democratic system. You can only sustain and strengthen democratic process (through consensus)," Mukherjee said at a forum organised by a media house.

"I believe in the philosophy and try to build up consensus as consensus building is essential in the consultative arrive at a particular idea," he said.

"Organisations should try to build a myriad of agreements keeping aside areas of divergence. That is the most important aspect of consensus building," he said.

He cited the examples of Finance Commission, National Development Council and the recently reconstituted National Integration Council as institutions that strike consensus between the Centre and the states on a number of issues.

On NIC, he expressed the hope that it will be useful in building up consensus on various national matters, even as it is not as effective currently.

"...NIC has not been effective. Recently, it has been reconstituted. I do hope it will also contribute its own power and authority in building up consensus on very crucial issues," he said.

The government has recently reconstituted the NIC, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The NIC has 147 members, including Union ministers, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the chief ministers of all states and Union Territories with legislatures.

It also includes leaders of the national and regional political parties, chairpersons of national commissions, eminent journalists, public figures, and representatives of business and women’s organisations.

Set up in the early 1960s by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the NIC held its first meeting in 1962. The council reviews matters relating to national integration and makes recommendations on such issues.

The finance minister heads a number of ministerial groups formed to build a consensus on vexatious issues such as food security and freeing fuel prices.


First Published: Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 13:50

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