ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NEW DELHI-Seeking Salvation in Foreign Private Investment

NEW DELHI Seeking Salvation in Foreign Private Investment BM THE 'leak' of a document prepared by the prime minister's special secretary, Montek Ahluwalia, on ''restructuring of industrial trade and fiscal policies" has overshadowed the controversial industrial policy statement of the union industry minister, Ajit Singh, and enlarged vastly the scope of the debate on economic policy, its content and direction. The differences are becoming strident within the ruling party, the Janata Dal, as well as among parties allied to it or supporting it from outside. The document has been under detailed consideration of senior secretaries of the government, presumably with the knowledge of the prime minister and possibly also the finance and industry ministers, even as the Planning Commission has been kept at a distance. The timing of all this cannot escape attention either. The National Development Council which approved the Approach to the Eighth Plan drawn up by planners had no inkling of the parallel exercise going on in the government, initiated by the prime minister's office, on a wide-ranging restructuring of economic policy which does not square with the Approach paper. The annual meeting of the Aid India Consortium held in Paris at the same time as the National Development Council meeting could not have been unconcerned with this exercise. Whether or not the finance secretary, heading the Indian delegation to the Aid Consortium melting, formally reported on the work of Montek Ahluwalia is not known. But it is very likely that the participants in the Paris meeting were aware of the labours under way in the office of the prime minister and on the part of the senior secretaries to the government for restructuring India's industrial, trade and fiscal policies on the lines favoured by the World Bank and the member countries of the Aid Consortium.

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