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

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Wrong Medicine

Wrong Medicine DOES the country really need an industry ministry at the centre, at least one of the present gargantuan proportions with its numerous departments and divisions and phalanx of half a dozen or more secretaries with their full bureaucratic retinues? This question is raised in a sharp way by the discussion paper the ministry has prepared for the prime minister's meeting with industrialists next week. A careful reading of newspaper reports of the discussion paper, which has apparently been widely circulated among prospective participants in next week's meeting, makes one thing very clear: even in terms of the ministry's own, as will be seen below, confused diagnosis of the industrial slow-down and its thoroughly mis- connected prescriptions for dealing with the problem, the ministry has virtually no role to play in any effort to bring about an improvement in the industrial situation. The suggestions for action in the form mostly of fiscal concessions, enhanced protection through import duties and greater supply of bank and other institutional finance besides, of course, a stepping up of public sector investment are almost all addressed to the finance ministry. Not a little finger, it is evident, can the industry ministry itself lift to help speed up industrial growth by a decimal point. It is indeed very useful that the country and the people have been presented with this telling proof of the redundance of a large and supposedly vital part of the elephantine government of India just when an enormous increase in the cost of maintaining it has been forced down their throats following the government's self-indulgently generous decisions on the recommendations of the Pay Commission for government employees.

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