Centres infrastructure policy skewed: CPI-M

New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
While welcoming the basic thrust of the Presidents address to Parliament given its emphasis on the social sector, the CPI-M, however, said that the governments claim of sustained economic growth was not borne out by fact. The presidential address reflects the needs of the social sector and promises increased spending on education and health sectors. Also, there is rightly an emphasis on agriculture, CPI-M leader Nilotpal Basu said here on Friday. However, he questioned the governments claims of 7.5% GDP growth rate given that agricultural growth had come down to 1.1%.

Speaking to mediapersons along with Lok Sabha member Basudeb Acharia, Mr Basu said, however, that there were major discrepancies between the Presidential address and the Economic Survey on the infrastructure sector. Stating that fast pace of private investment in infrastructure had led to skewed growth in favour of the metros, he said that private sectors role had played havoc in resource mobilisation. Therefore, he added, state intervention was essential to correct this inequitous and non-inclusive growth pattern as it excludes large parts of our population in the rural areas.

Regarding the Lefts oposition on FDI in the telecom sector, he said that although it was a fact that teledensity had gone up, he added that this too was skewed, with teledensity in urban areas being around 20%, while in rural areas it was only around 1.9%. Clarifying that the Left was not against FDI per se, which was apparent from the fact that the Left-ruled West Bengal was the second highest recipient of FDI in the country, he said that FDI should be brought in areas that were primarily linked with exports or infrastructure, adding that there was a need to revisit the FDI policy and directing it towards areas which strengthened the economy.

On the area of foreign policy Front, Mr Basu said that the President has rightly addressed countrys foreign policy concerns and restored the independent direction that was lost during the NDA rule. However, he said that they opposed the governments increasingly close relations with Israel, including in the area of defence, adding that financing the development needs of the Budget with respect to reducing defence expenditure was important.