Monday, November 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Handle globalisation with care: PM
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 26 — The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today said the rapid changes brought about by technology and globalisation had to be addressed with care and caution and the process of change had to be managed with “sensitivity”.

Inaugurating the 15th India Economic Summit here, jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the World Economic Forum, the Prime Minister talked about the apprehensions about globalisation amongst a section of the world community and listed out steps to remove them. In India alone, there were around 300 million poor and marginalised persons.

“The effectiveness of these responses would partially lie in accepting that while globalisation affords unbounded opportunities, these opportunities go hand in hand with obligations”. The privilege of being a global player must be matched with the responsibility of making the process universally acceptable by making it universally beneficial, he added.

Taking advantage of the presence of captains of Indian industry and leading international players, the Prime Minister called for further strengthening of the partnership between government and industry.

He listed eight areas where the two sides could collaborate for a healthy partnership. These were:

— First and foremost, the business and industry, especially the foreign investor community must have a long-term commitment to India.

— Companies must adhere to free and fair competition in the interest of consumers. Monopolies and cartels serve the cause of few at the cost of many.

— The Corporate sector must implement higher standards of corporate governance. High standards of corporate governance would enhance the people’s confidence in the private sector.

— Invest more in human resource development. It would be beneficial in the long run to devote funds and time to training, re-training and education of employees and their families.

—Focus on research and development, innovation and technology building as technology is driving change today.

— Consider India a profitable location not merely for out-sourcing of information technology services, but also for manufacturing. India seeks to be not only an IT hub but also a manufacturing hub.

— Be sensitive to environmental concerns. Insist on high standards of pollution control and ecological management.

— Reach out to the rural sector not merely because it is large, but because the needs of rural India cannot be bypassed. The rural sector needs high quality products to derive the advantages of globalisation.

The Prime Minister said the government alone could not meet the massive challenge of providing education and healthcare facilities to every family in a billion-strong country and urged the CII’s 4,000-member companies and the 300 foreign companies at the forum to take charge of at least one primary school and one healthcare centre. This would supplement the government’s efforts in the social sector, he added.

Such a partnership, Mr Vajpayee said, would change the image of globalisation and it would be no longer perceived as a threat but an opportunity. It would initiate a process that would enable all sections of society to participate in development and growth and in the process the gains of income would be more equitably shared.

The Prime Minister said India had strong economic fundamentals and it would continue, for the eighth year in succession, to grow at over 6 per cent. The intention is to double per capita income within one decade and this would mean an annual GDP growth of around 8 per cent to 9 per cent.

For the first time, top corporate members from the international community gave their comments to the Prime Minister on what they thought about the economic reforms in India. They were happy with the reforms programme, but wanted that to be speeded up. “Keep on the reform and we are with you” was the message of the corporate community.

UNI adds: Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Sunday assured foreign investors that the government would never spring a surprise which would affect their profitability.

Also, their investment was safe and repatriation of profits and dividends “fully assured,” Mr Sinha said in his keynote address at the India Economic Summit, organised here by the CII and the world economic forum.

“There will be no occasion when you will have to come to us seeking any special permission for repatriating your profits and dividends,” he said.

The government had also removed almost all bureaucratic hurdles in the way of such investors. Citing an example, he said all investments within the 51 per cent sectoral cap required no permission from any department. Such investors had to merely inform the RBI that they were within the sectoral cap.

If the investors still faced any bureaucratic delays, it could be brought to his notice and his ministry would redress such grievances as promptly as a doctor attended to his emergency case, Mr Sinha assured. 

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