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

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RIVER WATERS-Muddied, with Intent

RIVER WATERS-Muddied, with Intent

Wishful Thinking THE government's lack of ideas on how to revive industrial activity is reflected in its muted response to the disclosure that industrial growth in 1996-97 was just 6.7 percent, a far cry from the hopes of double- digit growth to which official spokespersons had continued to cling for long. For more objective observers this setback to industrial growth hardly comes as a surprise; the signs were there for all to see. Characterising the slow-down as a passing phase, the industry secretary has now sought to attribute it to sectoral deficiencies and external developments. By way of remedial action, the ministry has sought from different sectors of industry 'vision' papers outlining their prospects and concerns. On a consideration of these documents the government has come to the conclusion that what needs to be done is to plug loopholes in customs and excise duties and, as a second step, rationalise duties and correct inverted duty structures. Once these measures are taken, the government is convinced, industrial growth in 1997-98 will be at least 11 per cent, with a like spurt in exports. Clearly, the government is living in a make-believe world.

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