PM Hits Out At US Stand On Outsourcing

New Delhi, March 12 | Updated: Mar 13 2004, 05:30am hrs
We should not now drive a reverse process, said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee while obliquely referring to strange controversies created by the United States by imposing restrictions on business process outsourcing (BPO).

The world has spent the last decade trying to make sensible economics prevail over the temptation for short-term political gains, Mr Vajpayee reminded the world leaders while making a case for freeing outsourcing which is a natural consequence of the liberalisation process.

The very process of liberalisation, on which we have been lectured for so many years has created competitive skills which are available for utilisation by businesses everywhere, he said while delivering a key-note address on How to build an Indian century at the two-day conclave organised by the India Today group on Friday.

Mr Vajpayee also unveiled a three-pronged strategy to create more jobs. The strategy includes promoting productive employment in all sectors, enhancing employability through training and strengthening social security schemes for unorganised sector. Mr Vajpayee also promised to speed up economic reforms and growth besides hastening infrastructure development.

Asserting that raising productivity and profitability in the farm sector was central to the strategy for a prosperous and vibrant India, Mr Vajpayee said the country needed a second Green Revolution and the government has initiated many efforts in this direction.

Enlarging and intensifying them will be a priority for us in the coming years, he said adding the greatest challenge was to banish poverty, which still gripped nearly one fourth of the population.

We have started to speed up everything that is essential for making India stronger and more prosperous nation, he said adding towards this end, the government has decided to speed up growth, reforms of economy and institution, expansion and modernisation of infrastructure, including social.

Recognising unemployment as a major concern, Mr Vajpayee said the nature of employment generation was changing with the changing nature of the economy. Jobs in government and organised industry have shrunk all over the world, including India, but new employment and self-employment opportunities have sprung up on a large scale in recent years, he said.

He listed housing, road construction and transportation, cottage industries, IT, financial sector, tourism, services and enterprises in the informal sectors as areas where jobs were being generated.

Speaking about Indo-Pak relations, the prime minister said the public opinion in India and Pakistan should lead politicians to pragmatic and acceptable solutions to the problems. He added there was need for two countries to look at innovative ideas to resolve differences.

Observing that India has consistently used the language of cooperation, detente and dialogue in its neighbourhood policy, he said the agreement reached with Pak in January flowed from this consistent stand that it is only bilateral dialogue which can solve problems and that this dialogue cannot be pursued or sustained if terrorism continues.

While referring to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Mr Vajpayee also had a pot shot at those deriding the NDA governments India shining campaign. He said throughout the recent difficult years, when India had to fashion responses appropriate to immediate challenges, it consistently had this clarity of purpose.