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The Real Issues

WE have yet another official assessment of the state of the economy after three years of stabilisation and structural reform. Not surprisingly, the focus is almost entirely on short-term developments and the many serious issues that have been thrown up by the reform programme are sought to be swept under the carpet. Though the claim is advanced that along with the reforms there has been a decisive thrust to deal with the accumulated problems of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and low standards of living of a very large proportion of the population, little information is provided on how the enhanced 5 per cent GDP growth or the higher growth in agriculture and industry, the improved foreign trade and balance of payments position, the claimed rectification of the fiscal imbalance and the tightening of monetary control are contributing to redressing poverty, unemployment and social deprivation. The question is important because alter all short- term achievements of the type highlighted in the government note had been chalked up earlier also in the 1980s, except in regard to the external sector.

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