Task of bridging rural-urban divide Himalayan: PM
Dec 15, 2007, 14:10 GMT
New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) The growing rural-urban and inter-regional divide remains the key area of concern for the government even as Indian economy is performing better on the whole, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday.
'The rural-urban divide and inter-regional divide are the areas of concern while the performance of Indian economy has certainly improved in recent years,' he said while speaking on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Institute of Economic Growth here.
'The government has initiated several policies aimed at bridging the rural-urban divide but the task is Himalayan,' he said.
However, Manmohan Singh said India was engaged in a process of catching up.
'I am convinced that if we stay the course and if we implement the strategy for the 11th Five-Year Plan, we will in fact be able to catch up with South East and East Asia.
'The world expects India to succeed. Our people have similar expectations. There is great optimism today about India's prospects, and this is based on recent performance. Expectations play their own role in their fulfilment,' he said.
'But, if expectations run ahead of ability, there can be frustration. Our task in government is to invest in our people's abilities and capabilities, so that they can perform to their fullest potential.'
Manmohan Singh emphasized that the central government alone could not alter the dynamics of regional imbalance if concerned states did not do their bit.
'What are the critical gaps in our processes of governance which affect our ability to reduce regional imbalances in levels of development? I pose this as a question of the highest priority for economists in our country,' the prime minister said.
He asked the institute to suggest solutions to these problems and a long-term strategy for addressing challenges of agricultural development and agrarian change.
Manmohan Singh said that in the early years of planning there used to be a debate between those who emphasised the importance of agriculture and those who focused on industrialisation - with 'the so-called Delhi School and Bombay School divide, between Prof. Mahalanobis and Raj on one side, and Prof. Vakil and Bramhananda on the other.
'But I do not think we can any longer pose the issue as agriculture versus industry. We need a strategy for 'agriculture and industry', for 'rural and urban', for town and country to use the language of classical political economy,' he said.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service