Advani calls for rejuvenated focus on rural economy

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New Delhi, Apr.30 : Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader L.K.Advani has called for a rejuvenated focus on rural India, and has said there is a need to ensure redirection of investment into agriculture and rural economy, especially in irrigation, water management, soil enrichment and rural infrastructure.

Speaking at the session on "Building People: Making Growth Inclusive and Sustainable" at CII National Conference and Annual Session - 2008 here today, Advani said for inclusive growth there is simply no substitute to massive re-industrialisation and rejuvenation of India's countryside.

Advani also talked about enhancing the employability of India's youth and said mere increase in degree holders will not meet the needs of double digit growth, quoting former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan's study that found that earnings of 20 richest Indians exceeds those of 30 crore Indians and said lopsided however high is never sustainable.

Offering three broad ideas to India Incorporated, he said good governance is the most important requirement for achieving inclusive growth and added that good governance will not only boost GDP but also make sure that money is well spent and reach intended beneficiaries.

Secondly he said some of the poorest states in the country suffer from threats to internal security such as terrorism and naxalism.

Finally he said with foreign exchange reserves now amounting close to US$ 300 billion there is no problem on resource front in achieving double digit GDP growth.

Advani quoted The Economists editorial of early 1990's titled 'India, The Caged Tiger' and said India was uncaged during the six year rule of NDA. He also talked of having the equivalent of golden quadrilateral in education and health.

On corruption, he said it is one of the biggest obstacles to inclusive and sustainable growth, and added that corruption leads to maligned growth and also to moral degradation. Further he said corruption is undermining India's development drive and its international reputation.

Talking about India - US nuclear agreement he said India's national security and international profile was strengthened after the nuclear tests at Pokhran in 1998 and emphasised that his party will not allow any bilateral treaty to neutralise this historic achievement.

Earlier, Sunil Bharti Mittal, President CII, praised Advani for his leadership and called him the tallest leader of all time.

K.V Kamath, Vice President CII, accepted Advani's manifesto to India Incorporated and expressed his willingness to implement them over next one year during his tenure as President of CII.

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