Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who was among the top few in the Narasimha Rao government that backed the Manmohan Singh-led economic reforms of 1991, conceded Saturday that some decisions of this government could have conveyed an impression that India had gone back to pre-1991 days, but added, that it has now corrected course.
“Certain decisions that were taken have certainly created an impression in the eyes of lot of people that we are going back (to pre-1991 days). But if we have taken those decisions, we have also started taking corrective action. See, ultimately, we have no choice. Anyone can rule, but the policy-maker has to improve investment climate, policy-maker has to take action in such a manner where your productivity and production is improved. And for that purpose, restrictive policy in any sector will harm,” he told The Indian Express.
According to Pawar, all that India has achieved was due to economic liberalisation and he was sure the UPA was still devoted to the same policies, which has “paid rich dividends” to the country. “Yes, there are exceptions like this year but then decisions are being taken to improve the investment climate,” he said.
He, however, did make the point that courts have been passing orders, which make it difficult to implement key policies in sectors like mining.
“Suppose the highest court of the country says there is a total ban on mining, what can we do? It has affected us. In fact, one of the reasons why we are facing this problem today, is because our export of iron ore is substantially down. The foreign exchange that used to accrue has now stopped. And even steel factories are unable to run with full capacity.”