Lampooning the BJP-led opposition for disrupting Parliament’s monsoon session, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directed his cabinet colleagues to speed up “decision making” to revive economic momentum and stimulating investment into core sector projects.
In a broadcast to the nation, Prime Minister Singh asked likeminded Indians to oppose the “forces of anarchy and disruption” to secure democratic institutions and protect constitutional rights.
Citing three-week-long disruption of Parliament session, he said, “I am instructing all ministries to accelerate their consideration of critical issues where decisions are needed to get the economy moving again.” He hoped at least some business would be transacted in winter session of Parliament, and said his cabinet “must act wherever it can without the benefit of Parliamentary guidance”.
Several economic decisions are pending clearance of key bills in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, not only due to disruptions but also due to opposition from within sections of the ruling UPA.
Among the actions that the government could act on over the next few weeks to put the economy back on the rails included hiking the prices of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene, allowing FDI in multibrand retail, faster clearance to projects, including infrastructure, decontrol of sugar and disinvestment of public enterprises.
The strongly-worded message addressed to fellow citizens also cited grave economic developments globally and precarious situation back home to castigate the opposition for their disruptions.
Constant distraction of opposition through these disruptions has impacted economic decision making of the government, the prime minister said. “We cannot do this (bringing momentum to the economy) if the government is constantly distracted by the actions of those who prefer obstruction over discussion,” Singh said.
He maintained that the economic growth momentum could be rebuilt and entrepreneurship encouraged by stimulating investments in infrastructure sectors such as power, roads, ports, railways and telecommunications. “This will send a clear signal to the world that India is on the road to recovery. This, in turn, will bring back the momentum of growth, generate productive employment and enable us to direct more resources to help the poor and weaker sections,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister’s letter came hours after both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die as the BJP-led opposition continued to disrupt it.
Enlisting his challenges, Singh said the economy was experiencing problems. But he was confident of returning to high growth. “I have no doubt we can do it“ despite the exceptionally difficult phase that the world is passing through, he said.
The prime minister termed the opposition demand seeking his resignation over debate and discussion of the CAG report on the Rs 1,84,000 crore coal scam as “making a mockery of parliamentary democracy.“
He hinted that democratic institutions like Parliament were denigrated and incalculable damage was being done by not allowing a reasoned debate to make a political point.
Without criticising the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) for the coal scam report, the prime minister said there could be differing views as the statutory auditor was dealing “with complex issues“.
He said the CAG report on coalgate could have been discussed at the public accounts committee headed by veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and also in both Houses of Parliament.
Hitting out at the BJP , Manmohan Singh said, “This is the road to a dysfunctional politics, which will only produce agitational politics and a deeply divided and disenchanted country.“
“We do not strengthen the CAG as an institution by using its reports to prevent discussion and cause disruption,“ Singh said.
He said the issues raised by the CAG report were not being swept under the carpet and whatever corrective action is necessary will be taken.