New Delhi: Seeking to erase the image of policy paralysis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday spoke of "difficult decisions" and "determined measures" to boost investment. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the other hand observed that the mandate in the next polls will depend on the work done and not promises.
A touch of introspection on the part of two leaders was evident at a celebration to mark the third anniversary of UPA-II at the Prime Minister's residence where the highlight was the presence of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav on the podium along with senior ministers and UPA constituent leaders.
Releasing 'The Report to the People' along with Gandhi, Singh said, "Difficult decisions have to be taken on both spending and revenue mobilisation. Both the Centre and states have to be fiscally responsible. We also have to remove implementation bottlenecks that are preventing large projects from getting off the ground."
He said, "Determined measures are needed to boost the climate for industrial investment, both domestic and foreign".
Despite "real achievements" of the last eight years, "there are uncertainties and a large unfinished agenda before us", he said.
To those who have been targeting his government for the past several months, the PM said, “I invite a constructive criticism of our performance.”
On the issue of corruption which has been plaguing the Congress-led-government at the Centre he accepted, “We know there is public anger on the issue of corruption.” "We are trying to ensure exemplary punishment to the guilty while ensuring that public servants feel secure in taking bonafide decisions in national interest," the Prime Minister said.
Outlining the achievements of the UPA-II’s third anniversary, the Prime Minister said that the “Indian economy grew at about seven percent in 2011-12 which is the highest in the world,” despite adverse international economic scenario. He also added that there were noted successes in agricultural sector. “Rural wages have increased and India has been declared polio free by international agencies and WHO.”
"Sustained high rates of growth during the UPA government's tenure have enabled us to pursue our agenda of inclusive and equitable growth," he said.
Turning to economic situation, Singh said difficult decisions have to be taken on both spending and revenue mobilisation as he underlined the need for both the Centre and states have to be "fiscally responsible".
However, when asked later to specify the tough decisions, Singh told reporters, "let us wait. Sometimes somethings will be obvious".
Manmohan Singh asked the state government to come together to fight the menace of corruption and accepted that “Naxalism is a big problem.”
Taking on the critics of his government, the PM said, “Some people have questioned the capabilities of India’s growth. We will prove our sceptics wrong.”
At the same time he also urged all political parties to “rise above partisan issues so that India can rise globally.”
Also speaking on the occasion, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said, “We have faced a lot of difficulties in the last one year.” Slamming the Opposition she said that though the Central government’s detractors were loud in their criticism, they on their part had been controlled in their reaction.
Gandhi reminded the government that the result of the next Lok Sabha elections will depend on the "nature of work done by us" and not the promises.
Asserting that India has been advancing on the growth map since UPA took charge, she said, "we are aware that only two years are left when we will be seeking a new mandate from the people."
Manmohan Singh’s government has been fighting a perception battle for several months now on the issue of corruption, policy paralysis and non-governance. The Centre has been in the line-of-fire by the Opposition and also its allies on a host of issues with many predicting that UPA-II will not last the full five year term.
The Prime Minister himself has been singled out for not being pro-active and being vocal enough on the many crisis faced by the country today.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 20:11