Gurgaon, Jan.17 : Asian nations need to follow a five-pronged strategy to make the growth process in Asia more inclusive and sustainable, according to Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.
Addressing a session on "The Asian Century: How do we make it inclusive?" at The Partnership Summit 2008 here today, Balakrishnan, said that his five-point strategy is make the government more accountable, focus on education, build infrastructure, create more jobs for people and promote free trade.
He said that since technology has made the government more powerful than ever there is a need to make it more accountable to people. He further added that more opportunities for common man arises only when they are adequately skilled and educated.
He also talked of the importance of job creation in increasing the self-respect of the people. He gave the example of income supplement scheme of the Singapore government for the lowest 20% of the wage earning population. For promoting free trade he said that since Singapore is a small country with trade value more than four times the size of GDP, free trade is absolutely necessary for them.
In his address, Dr. G L Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Sri Lanka said Asia is a continent of vivid disparities. He said the major difference between the countries who have grown rapidly and those that have not is the continuous pursuit of liberal policies by subsequent governments. He said that this generates confidence in foreign investors on the fundamentals of the country. He further talked of a relationship between the government, private sector and civil society.
Earlier Co Chairman for the session, Michael Yeoh, CEO, ASLI, Malaysia identified five challenges for the Asian continent, which are inequality, infrastructure, educational opportunities, environment and energy. He talked of how these are best of times for certain groups of population and yet worst of times for another group of population.
In his remarks, Analjit Singh, Chairman, CII International Council and Chairman Max India Group of Companies talked of two faces of Asia. One a shining Asia that is always in the news and other a suffering Asia that doesn't have access to even basic standards of living.