Industrialisation alone can end poverty: Manmohan Singh
May 1, 2007 - 4:42:09 PM
New Delhi, May 1 - Industrialisation is vital for economic development and the broader social transformation of India even if it throws up challenges like the alienation of working class, environment damage and displacement of people, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Tuesday.
'It is only through rapid industrialisation that we can find meaningful solution to the problem of mass unemployment, underdevelopment,' the prime minister said while inaugurating the campus of the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development here.
The think tank, that focuses on the problems faced because of industrialisation, has been founded by former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, who could not be present due to ill health.
'Concerns will be expressed, especially by those who may see themselves as losers in the process of industrialisation. We must learn to address their concerns and assuage them to the extent possible,' Manmohan Singh said.
'Industrialisation ought to be a win-win process for social transformation and economic development. A developing country like ours just cannot afford to view industrialisation as a negative phenomenon.'
The prime minister said he was struck by recent comments in the media that most of the billionaires among India's top business leaders operated in oligopolistic markets and in areas where the government conferred special privileges on a few.
'This sounds like crony capitalism. Are we encouraging crony capitalism? Is this a necessary but transient phase in developing modern capitalism in our country? Are we doing enough to protect consumers, small businesses?' he queried.
Manmohan Singh asked research institutions to come up with solutions on how to prevent such crony capitalism, inject greater competition in the industrial sector and tackle concerns faced by domestic enterprise.
Three decades ago, the prime minister said, there was palpable concern and worry over multinational corporations overpowering Indian companies, but the situation today has changed when one only heard of opportunities on hand.
'Today Indian companies are going global, becoming multinationals. The process may yet be incipient, but the change is visible and here to stay. The nature of competition has changed and so has the nature of regulation,' he said.
This, Manmohan Singh said, required efforts to ensure that markets remained competitive, monopolistic practices were curtailed and the growth became more balanced, inclusive and more tuned towards employment generation.
The prime minister also spoke about his other concerns and said he was puzzled by the persisting regional imbalances in industrial development and urbanisation in India.
'We need credible solutions to help reduce imbalances. Industrial development must spread to new regions, especially in the northern and eastern India. What are the lessons we can learn from the experience of western and southern India?'
During his 25-minute speech, the prime minister also said India's industrialisation process cannot be left entirely to a few large industrial houses and capitalists, and called for equal focus on the role of small and medium enterprises.
'The employment intensive nature and the greater regional spread of small and medium enterprises makes them an attractive option for our industrial growth processes,' he added.
Manmohan Singh laid emphasis on increasing farm output and productivity, especially since nearly 70 percent of India's population lived in rural areas and depended largely on agriculture.
'Since the per capita availability of land is less than 1.5 hectares, there are severe limitations to expanding employment opportunities in agriculture on a large scale. Therefore, we have to find ways and means to accelerate the process of industrialisation and also to ensure that this process is sufficiently labour intensive.'
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