Not easy to achieve consensus on reforms in a coalition: Govt

Last Updated: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 22:15

New Delhi: Amid criticism that reforms are not being pushed, government on Saturday said it is not easy to achieve political consensus on issues in a coalition because there are hurdles.
"It is easy to say evolve political consensus, but it is difficult to achieve, " Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy said here while addressing at India Today Conclave.
"During the last 23 years, India has not had a single ruling party. Rajiv Gandhi was the last Prime Minister of India who had the absolute majority in both the Houses of the Parliament," Reddy said.

Reddy`s comments came after BJP President Nitin Gadkari who was also sharing the dias, said, "I know one thing that one can donate eye but not the vision."

"The lack of vision, commitment, development-oriented approach, constructive thinking and fast-track decision making process is very essential for a country," Gadkari said.

Gadkari also raised the issue of slow progress over the interlinking of rivers in the country and said that the Supreme Court has already given its decision to connect rivers in the country and it is very important.

On this, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said, "Mr Gadkari mentioned interlinking of rivers. That has been on the drawing board. It is not easy to do. One such projet Ken-Betwa is still to get all the environment clearances."

Ahluwalia talked about the difficulty in achieving consensus over the various issues among the states particularly when those are ruled by the different political parties.

Defending the government, he said, "The government is taking number of steps. They are trying to identify, what are the impediments to faster implementation of existing projects like power, coal and gas."

Gadkari also raised the issue of Indian investment going abroad and said, "Many Indian industries are investing abroad. That is also a very serious. Our policies can make India strong."

"We are a rich nation with a poor population. The country is facing a lot of problems. We are to change our economic policies," he added.

However, Ahluwalia maintained that there is conducive investment environment for domestic and foreign players.

On this occasion, Gadkari also pointed out that the country needs to encourage the bio-fuels like ethanol to reduce dependence on the crude oil imports.

"There is a lot of potential of bio-fuels like ethanol, but I don`t know what is the reason why the government is not taking the decision to encourage bio-fuels in the country," Gadkari pointed out.

About the criticism of the government on lack of indications about reforms in the Budget, Ahluwalia said that it cannot talk about everything.

"There we have talked about the negative list of the service tax. That indicates the step towards introduction of Goods and Service Tax," he added.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 20:12

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