New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today castigated protectionist voices emerging in developed countries at a time when India was opening up its economy and said demands of patent protection by the pharmaceutical industry ought to be balanced against the need to ensure availability of afforable medicines.
"The elephant (India) which has long been commented upon as being slow and sleepy, is not just wide awake but moving forward rapidly.
So rapidly that it has become imperative for the global community to notice and acknowledge its emergence on the global stage as an economy that counts," Dr Manmohan Singh said inaugurating the three-day conference of the 'Fortune Global Forum.' The Prime Minister said the road to reform over the past two decades has been a one way street. Different political parties of different ideological hues have been in office over the past two decades. Yet no policy reform has been reversed.
"The Indian economy and its globalisation has moved in only one direction--towards greater and greater freedom for individual creativity, initiative and enterprise. And towards increased integration with the world economy," he said.
"That is why the India story looks so good. That is what we dreamt of in 1991", Dr Singh said.
Dr Singh said new business activities have grown in response to global opportunities. The successes of India's Information Technology, automobile and pharmaceutical sectors were a living testimony to the benefits that liberalisation and globalisation have brought to the country.
"Sometimes, we do worry that at a time when we are becoming more open, protectionist voices are being heard in developed countries.
The lesson we must all draw from the experience of the past century is that no country can reverse the dynamics of social, economic and technological change. Rather we must learn to cope and adapt with change", he said.
The Prime Minister affirmed the government's commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights.
"But, the global economy and the global community cannot afford the complete privatisation of research, of knowledge generation, especially in fields like medicine. We need to evolve mechanisms that protect intellectual property and at the same time, address the needs of the poor. With the increasing privatisation of Research&Development in science and technology, modern societies require new approaches to the sharing of knowledge where such knowledge is of benefit to all humankind." "What the world needs today is a new concord between private enterprise and public welfare", he said "This dilemma poses itself most obviously in the field of health care. The policies we require to incentivise new R&D must be balanced against the need to ensure availability of medicines at affordable prices to the world's people." The 'Fortune Global Forum' brings together global Chief Executives, leaders in government, scholars, economists and top level editors of the Fortune magazine. The Forum highights key issues facing Multinational Corporations in a location that is a focal point of global economic interest.
The Prime Minister was given a standing ovation by the audience after his address.