Sonia praises nationalisation

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 21 | Updated: Nov 22 2008, 08:07am hrs
Harking back to one of the cornerstones of Indias command-and-control economic legacy, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said it was the nationalisation of banks by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1969 that now provided resilience to the Indian financial system and sheltered it from the global economic meltdown.

Every passing day bears out the wisdom of that decision. Public sector financial institutions have given our economy the stability and resilience we are now witnessing in the face of the economic slowdown, Gandhi told a conference in New Delhi on Friday morning.

Gandhis statement comes in the backdrop of the nationalisation of several financial institutions in both the US and Europe following the global meltdown. It is also being seen a tacit response to Left parties, which claimed credit for saving the economy by successfully stalling the UPA governments attempts to open up the banking sector and dilute equity in public sector banks.

Affirming that growth is never only about per capita income figures, Gandhi underscored that it was the governments task to see that the poor were protected from economic upheaval. Seen in the political context of the on-going polls in several states, as well as the upcoming general election, she was clearly addressing an audience larger than that gathered at the venue.

Later in her speech, Gandhi reiterated the Congress commitment to reforms, saying, Liberalisation must be pursued within a framework of sensible, but not heavy-handed, regulation.