UPA-II shot itself in the foot: Praful Patel

Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel said the UPA-II government has shot itself in the foot by delaying key reforms.

Updated: Mar 15, 2013, 23:17 PM IST

New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel, whose party is part of UPA government, on Friday said the UPA-II government has shot itself in the foot by delaying key reforms.

Speaking at a conclave here, Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel said the UPA-II has not been able to emulate the success story of UPA-I.

"But at the same time I can admit that being on side of the government that we ourselves have been one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the way of success of the country," Patel said.

Patel added UPA-I functioned well, despite it being a large coalition.

"I think when we formed UPA-I, everybody just thought that it is a change of the government from NDA and therefore UPA will be a large coalition driven by left and would probably not be able to show way to the country.”

"But UPA-I inspite of all the limitations could give this country a very good government...The reason why we came back and formed UPA-II," he noted.

However, the UPA government in its second innings has not performed as per the expectations, he added.

"But ever since we came with UPA-II, if we see the way we have been functioning and I have been a critic of my government and therefore may not be music to the ears of my colleagues. Well, I can certainly say that we on many occasions have been shooting ourselves in the foot," the minister said.

Giving examples about the delay in reforms in the key sectors in India, Patel said the power sector has been one of the most neglected ones.

"Say the power sector. One of the, I would say a sector with great potential. India still lives in darkness. But still we have not been able to get out of this morale. The reason is that we have built in an activism within this system. We have built in lot of roadblocks, which I think can certainly be overcome in a very very simple fashion," he added.

On the issue of coal for which the government faced a lot of flak in Parliament, he said that the country needs to look at the future and plan its goals.

"Now we usually are talking about coal and issues of coal and the scam and all. We have got 100 years of proven coal reserves in the country and I`m sure in 30-40 years coal or thermal power will become a redundant source of energy because with the way the world is changing.”

"But inspite of this, we go all the way to Australia, to Indonesia to mine coal and bring it over here to use it in the power stations of India," he said.

This is resulting in power project are getting delayed, becoming expensive, the cost of power is rising driving Indian business uncomfortable and finally passing high cost of power to the consumer, he added.

"If we were to harness that coal within our own country and invest that same money instead of in Australia or Indonesia or South Africa or Mozambique into our own resources within the country, I think the opportunities would be immense," Patel said.

Patel added that in order to see the country rise, the government and the people need to realise the progress of the society can be gained by working together.

"Someday as I said earlier, we have missed the boat, but that`s not the end of the road, I`m sure we can gather our resources back again, mobilise ourselves and try to take India and catapult it into the next league," he said.