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Second generation of economic reforms number one priority: Manmohan Singh

August 20, 2011 - New Delhi

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, today said the number one priority of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is to push the "second generation" of the economic reforms process forward.

When asked to comment on the global perception that there is some kind of governance deficit and political noise, which is impeding the progress of the second generation of reforms, Dr. Singh said: "I think the second generation of reforms are essential, but there are also a lot more difficulties, they require a broad-based national consensus. In many cases, they involve legislative action and we do not have, I think, the type of maturities for example, which is necessary to put in place Goods and Services Tax, which we think is very important."

Dr. Singh also emphasized that the lack of an effective national consensus on some of the issues was a problem.

"We want financial sector reforms like the insurance sector reform and the lack of an effective national consensus on some of these issues is a problem and therefore the effort has to be to create a climate of opinion whereby all political parties would unite in national interest to push forward the reform agenda," Dr. Singh said.

"If we look at the reform programme, we launched it in 1991, it had a lot of opposition, both in the right and the left, but subsequently, we had the governments of the right and the left at the Centre. I think, the last 20 years broadly, they have all set to the path which was outlined by us in 1991-95," he added.

He further said the government wants to generate a broad climate in which all political parties can unite to push forward an agenda, which is in the broad national interest.

"That will be our priority number one. To push the reform process forward," Dr. Singh said.


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