President Pranab Mukherjee today said there had always been a thread of continuity during every reform process initiated in the country. “During the start of developmental planning process in the early fifties till the opening up of the Indian economy in 1991 by erstwhile Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, we had always adjusted with the ground realities,” he said. “There had always been continuity,” Mukherjee, who will lay down his office on July 25, 2017, said at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) here.
Mukherjee said when the liberalisation process was ushered in 1991, there had been lots of debates and the public were divided in two groups, opinion givers and opinion seekers. The liberalisation process gave us relief from mindless administrative controls and it was at that time that the development planning model of P C Mahalanobis was put to question, he said. The public sector, assumed to be the commanding heights in 1962, became a drag on the exchequer due to huge losses they were making, the president said.
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But still, in the last decade, PSUs contributed 1.5 times the gross investments made in them, gave Rs 4.8 lakh crore as dividend and Rs 18.7 lakh crore to the government as taxes, Mukherjee said. “So there had been flexibility at every point in time with pragmatism. Taking dogmatic views will not be useful. An instrument can be useful and productive, depends on how we use it”, he said.