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Economy Apr 4, 2013

Live: Dual power centres have put UPA in a three-legged race, says Jaitley

By Firstbiz Staff

4.50pm Arun Jaitley addresses CII

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had some soft words for his political rival and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at the start of his address.

"It was good to see he (Rahul Gandhi) knew what the problems were and gave some suggestions to tackle them," Jaitley said on the Congress vice president. Gandhi addressed the CII gathering this morning.

"Leadership is not merely a appointment to an office. History is not about how many years you spent in the office but what you contributed," Jaitley said.

"The leader must always have the last word," Jaitley said pointing to the dual command centres of the UPA headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh respectively.

"The tragedy of the government is that it has always been caught in a three-legged race as there are two power centres," he said.

"We are not looking into a different model of governance," the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha rejecting the idea that parliamentary form of governance is not suitable for India.

Jaitley also expressed disappointment with the functioning of the power and telecom sectors.

"One of the difficult area facing problem is the power sector," Jaitley said, calling attention to the serious lacunae in the sector. "The prime minister needs to take action."

Saying that telecom sector was among the most successful ones, he said it is sad that even this sector is facing serious problems due to corruption and leadership issues.

"Telecom sector is a clear example of mismanagement by the UPA," Jaitley said.

The BJP has always been a friend of the industry, he said.

"I am not saying this as we believe in right wing ideologies," the BJP leader said.

The Opposition Leader was not kind on the UPA's policy paralysis and indecisiveness that is often seen in South Block.

"The prime minister should always have the last word. Good governance and good economy management must be blended together with clever politics," the BJP leader said.

Slamming the government, the BJP leader said,"It is the not the quality of governance that would win you elections. The governance model in UPA 1 & 2 is different. Despite limited resources, the government expanded expenditure by various waivers, for instance, the waiving of farm loan. The government has indulged in fiscal indiscipline."

Talking about the GST, Jaitley said, "GST is not a issue between the Congress and the BJP. It is an issue between Centre and the states. But it is wrong to arm twist government for revenue."

The Opposition Leader also criticised the UPA for misusing the CBI against its allies.

"The ally from West Bengal (Trinamool Congress) did not have any case with the CBI so it could leave UPA. But the two allies from Uttar Pradesh (SP and BSP) have no option but to support as they are often threatened by the use of CBI against them," Jaitley said.

Talking about security concerns, the Opposition Leader drew attention to the cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the inherent Maoist problem in very large parts of central India.

"Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of Pakistan while the Maoists want to overthrow the Indian democracy. Security issues should not be linked up to our desire of getting more votes," Jaitley said.

"The complain of the North-East that they are neglected is genuine. The lack of infrastructure in those areas have led to insurgency," he said.

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha also hoped that this would be his last visit to the CII meet as a Opposition member.

"The lost of 1947 to 1991 is a much better one. But India can still manage to to regain that position," Jaitley said.

Answering a query in the Q&A session, he admitted that the national parties-Congress and BJP-have failed to keep up to the expectation of the Indian people completely and hence regional parties are increasingly getting larger share of votes.

Rahul takes direct questions on his economic vision for India, says one man alone can't change system

11:31: Following the speech on inclusive growth and a new political architecture, Gandhi took questions from industry captains where he reiterated that strengthening local bodies with real power is key to policy making. "We need to build a new architecture. Currently, the grassroots is totally disconnected from the political system," said Gandhi.

He also stressed on opening up the value-chain to solve India's problems as he or merely policy makers cannot solve everyone's problems. Taking a dig at the BJP, Gandhi said politics of hatred are no answer to policy making either.

"One person can't solve problems of a billion people, give power to billion people,all work will be done," says Gandhi. And it is precisely this reason why India cannot adopt an exclusive approach.

Gandhi winds up speech by equating the Hindu Rate of Growth is the European Rate of Growth.But did he manage to woo corporate bigwigs?

Need to build systems to integrate voices

Spelling out his vision, Gandhi says India's economic vision must be more than money, it must be about compassion and embracing the excluded and building institutional structures.

How can you talk of Centre-State relationship when only MPs and MLAs are defining the Vidhan Sabhas, questions Rahul Gandhi.

Moving on to China: Why does everyone worry about China and not India, asks Gandhi? Rahul Gandhi holds' Chinese secretaries' hand to demonstrate China's power. He puts his arm around shoulder to show how India applies power.

India is actually much more powerful that it thinks, but it is not applied systematically, says Gandhi, adding that India is a decentralised system. It's power is soft, but it is there. "Boss, our environment is not simple, we cannot give you simple answers," he says.

Govt needs India Inc's help to fullfil India's aspirations but admits clogged political system is holding corporates back

11:02 am Addressing the annual general meeting of lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry in his first public speech at a major business event, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi congratulated industry captains for transforming India's global image. Stressing on the growth potential of the country, Gandhi said, "India is bursting with dreams and ideas. The spirit of India has to move forward. We have to channelize the energy of India's youngsters. We need better physical structure for India's growth. Corporates must help government build infrastructure. Government private partnership is key to growth".

But he spoke in s jargon, using anecdotes about the youth and migrant labour and travel by train to elucidate his points.

Beginning his speech with a personal anecdote of a 'dark night' on a 36-hour journey to 'the glittering lights' of Mumbai, Gandhi embarked upon the optimistic spirit of India." Optimism for me is India. It is bursting with ideas and dreams and we must channelise this energy," said Gandhi. Noting that the Congress is the only inclusive party, Gandhi invited the business class to unleash jobs, entrepreneurship, innovation and schemes for the progress of society.

Rahul Gandhi urges India Inc to build infrastructure, create jobs

However, he said that this transition of people and ideas is required to empower the entire nation and accelerate this movement by connecting Indian villages, cities through appropriate infrastructure. "Govt cannot build this infrastructure alone. We need your help. It is critical that the business environment for the creation of this infrastructure is conducive."

Must embrace poor & women, can't progress without them, says Rahul

Noting that India has the seeds of a world-class education, Gandhi said that India's problem is not lack of education but lack of skilled training. Gandhi said, "We have to create an impartial and rule-based government system. Growth must include the poor, backwards, tribals".

Gandhi urges corporates to nurture the movement of people by creating the necessary jobs. However, he cautioned that exclusion of minorities like the poor, tribals and the women is a major threat to national movements in India.

"Economic vision is more than just money, embracing the excluded is necessary for wealth of creation," he said.

Whenever India has succeeded it is not by taking incremental steps but the result of generational shifts, added an idealistic Gandhi.

Industry chamber CII's annual general meetings over the years have seen many political bigwigs cutting across party lines making an appearance to enunciate their vision for economic growth. Congress president and Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi had made at least two showings at the annual conference in the past.

This year's AGM was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday.

Will Rahul make the most of his opportunity on the big stage?

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will address the annual general meeting of lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) today, marking his first public speech at a major business event.

He is slated to speak at a 45-minute session on the second-day of the meet, which will also be attended by top business leaders and industrialists like Bharti Airtel head Sunil Bharti Mittal, Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej and Wipro Chairman Azim Premji.

In many ways, the speech is being billed as his first public speech on matters pertaining to the economy. To that extent, it provides him with the Big Stage to articulate his vision for India and of his thoughts on the developmental discourse.

AP

AP

Gandhi is expected to speak about the need for economic growth along with social responsibility. He may speak on the China model or on other countries that are developing at a faster pace. He is also likely to raise UPA's ambitious direct transfer benefit scheme. and reassure corporate leaders that his party and the government are committed to ensuring a corporate friendly regime.

But rather than resorting to waffling or pandering to industry groups, he should use the occasion to let us in on where he stands on the big questions that confront India today. How does he define his economic philosophy? What are India's topmost economic priorities? What is his understanding of 'growth' and of 'economic reforms'? To what does he attribute the slump in India's economic fortunes in recent years? What recommendations does he have for reconciling the policy differences that have paralysed decision-making in the UPA 2 government? What solutions does he have for the 'crony capitalist" relationship that has tainted both industry and government? Does he have any new ideas to combat corruption?

In October 2012, Rahul had taken some top corporate leaders to Jammu and Kashmir to address the problem of unemployment being faced by the youth of the troubled state.

Earlier, Rahul had taken Microsoft chief Bill Gates to his parliamentary constituency Amethi in 2010. In 2008, he visited Japan along with party leader Sachin Pilot and CM Omar Abdullah as part of a CII delegation. But today will be his first public speech on business matters.

by Firstbiz Staff

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