India Today - - THE BIG STORY -

This must is go the af­ter rea­son cor­rup­tion, why I have we have been to stress­ing make sure that that while it does we not from de­scend be­ing ef­fec­tive. to a witch-hunt. The pur­suit That of will the pre­vent cor­rupt good needs peo­ple both de­ter­mi­na­tion Q. How se­verely and in­tel­li­gent is In­dia’s de­sign. in­vest­ment cli­mate be­ing af­fected due to this?

A. The im­pact on the in­vest­ment cli­mate is there but it’s a short-term phe­nom­e­non. Our an­nual level of in­vest­ment and sav­ings, at well over 30 per cent of GDP, is a mat­ter of envy. More­over, for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment has re­sumed com­ing into In­dia and there is a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity that this year will see a record FDI in­flow. The drop in in­vest­ment that we have seen over the past few months and will prob­a­bly see for a few more is caused by the gen­eral global gloom and the tight­en­ing of do­mes­tic de­mand that we had to go through to bring in­fla­tion down.

Q. Sup­ply side con­straints are some­thing that suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have not both­ered about. Bumper crops ev­ery other year have made us com­pla­cent...

A. There will be a bumper crop ev­ery few years, by def­i­ni­tion. This is why I never speak of a record har­vest. Turn­ing to the more sub­stan­tial part of your ques­tion, it is im­por­tant to boost agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity and to try and reach our very rea­son­able tar­get of 4 per cent per an­num.

Q. Im­ported in­fla­tion is equally irk­some. Are we on the precipice of sub-8 per cent growth again?

A. We may be on this or that side of 8 per cent but I wouldn’t call it a precipice. There’s no risk of fall­ing off. Q. What do you tell Pran­abda on eco­nomic pol­icy? A. First of all, I’d love to call him da but I don’t—he is the fi­nance min­is­ter, don’t for­get. I talk to him on eco­nomic pol­icy—from macro de­mand man­age­ment to mi­croe­co­nomic poli­cies for mak­ing mar­kets more ef­fi­cient. And I don’t al­ways tell him what he wants to hear. One re­mark­able thing about In­dia and cer­tainly the Min­istry of Fi­nance is that we have the space to make sug­ges­tions which may or may not be in keep­ing with of­fi­cial the­ol­ogy.

Q. Are the Govern­ment and RBI on the same page as far as tack­ling in­fla­tion is con­cerned?

A. On the same page, yes, though they may not be on the same para­graph. What I mean is that on over­all ob­jec­tives, we are in agree­ment. But do we take the same view on ev­ery pol­icy? Of course not! If we did, you could do away with one of us—the Govern­ment or the RBI. This open­ness is In­dia’s strength and this is why I be­lieve that no mat­ter what our short-term prob­lems, In­dia is on a long-term high. In­dia is among the fastest-grow­ing na­tions and, given our demo­cratic polity, there is rea­son to ex­pect that it will re­main so for two or three decades. ef­fec­tively with the out­break of Ja­panese en­cephali­tis in east­ern Ut­tar Pradesh, an epi­demic that had al­ready claimed 450 lives. The Depart­ment of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy has been with­out a full-time sec­re­tary for over a year. Tele­com Sec­re­tary Ren­tala Chan­drasekhar, al­ready overworked with de­fus­ing the fall­out of the 2G scam, has been hold­ing additional charge. In July, the Ap­point­ments Com­mit­tee of the Cabi­net handed additional charge of Youth Af­fairs to Sports Sec­re­tary Sind­hushree Khullar for three months. She con­tin­ues to hold the charge.

Two of the most cru­cial in­sti­tu­tions un­der Kapil Sibal’s Min­istry of Hu­man Re­source De­vel­op­ment have been head­less for more than eight months. The Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion is func­tion­ing with an of­fi­ci­at­ing chair­man since Fe­bru­ary 6, when Sukhadeo Tho­rat’s term ended. The com­mis­sion’s Vice-chair­man Ved Prakash has been the of­fi­ci­at­ing chair­man with the search com­mit­tee un­able to find an ap­pro­pri­ate can­di­date. The National Coun­cil for Ed­u­ca­tional Re­search and Train­ing ( NCERT) too has gone with­out a di­rec­tor for eight months.

The in­dus­try min­istry un­der Anand Sharma has failed to push ahead with FDI in re­tail. The national man­u­fac­tur­ing pol­icy was an­nounced af­ter a two-year de­lay in Oc­to­ber and con­tained no rad­i­cal sug­ges­tions. The environment min­istry has not over­come its ‘no-go’ mode de­spite get­ting a new min­is­ter, Jayan­thi Natara­jan, in July. The ur­ban de­vel­op­ment min­istry, headed by Ka­mal Nath since Jan­uary, has re­fused to take a fi­nal de­ci­sion on the regu-

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