Pawar had talked of economic reforms before 1991: PM

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New Delhi, Aug 7 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said most of the economic reforms initiated by him as Finance Minister in the early 1990s had already been spelt out by then Congress leader Sharad Pawar in his speeches at various fora.

The first budget of the P V Narasimha Rao government which he presented in Parliament had contained several proposals of Mr Pawar, Dr Singh said while releasing a book ''Fast Forward,'' a select compilation of the addresses of the former Maharashtra Chief Minister and now the chief of NCP and Agriculture Minister.

Dr Singh said precisely for this reason, he readily agreed to write the foreword for the book and also release it.

The weekly Cabinet meeting did not take place today, but the book release function, held at his official 7 Race Course Residence, virtually turned out to be a gathering of Cabinet Ministers. Among those present were Mr P Chidambaram, Mr Praful Patel, Mr Murli Deora, Mr Lalu Prasad and Mr Shivraj Patil, besides Mr Pawar and his daughter Supriya, MP.

Praising Mr Pawar for turning his drought-prone Baramati Lok Sabha constituency into a flourishing agrarian zone, Dr Singh said replicating the Baramati model across the country would help lift people out of poverty and generate employment for the youth and take the country to greater heights of development.

''I must especially mention here our achievement in agriculture, which is indeed a tribute to Sharadji's leadership (as Agriculture Minister). In the last three years, we have achieved a growth rate in agriculture of 4.7 per cent, which is nearly double that of the previous NDA government,'' the Prime Minister said.

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