ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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NEW DELHI-Economic Policy Confusion Growing Worse

NEW DELHI Economic Policy Confusion Growing Worse BM THE altercation between the Prime Minister and a CPI(M) member, Nirmal Chatterjee, in the Rajya Sabha the other day on socialist ideology and the role of the public sector in the development process was realty amusing. The Prime Minister struck a ludicrous posture as the exponent and advocate of the socialist philosophy and the commanding role of the public sector and in his enthusiasm was so carried away that he smugly said that while his government was not deviating from the socialist path, there was certain chief ministers "with a leftist image" who had submitted to the Central government "extremely capitalist schemes'' which the Central government had refused to accept. This was supposed to be a crack at the Chief Minister of West Bengal and the CP1(M). However, when the Prime Minister was asked to give figures in support of his contention that the allocation for the public sector in the Seventh Plan had not declined, he was unable to do so and even the officials gallery to which he turned for help failed to come to his aid with figures to substantiate his contention that public sector investment continued to maintain its commanding position in the scheme of the Seventh Plan. Incidentally, it is pointless to refer to the total Plan outlay when talking about the role of investment in the public sector part of the Plan. The real point of interest is that the investment proposed in the Seventh Plan for commercial and industrial enterprise in the public sector has been scaled down to barely one-third of the investment projection for the private corporate sector. The Prime Minister's assertion that vital areas of growth and investment were not being opened up for the private sector is also at total variance with facts when almost all areas of commercial and industrial activity hitherto reserved for public sector under the 1956 industrial policy resolution have been thrown open for the private sector or for public-private joint ventures.

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