Govt must pursue liberalisation despite economic slowdown : Sonia

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) Seeking to allay fears of the current economic slowdown affecting the country's growth trajectory, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today asked the government to pursue liberalisation within a framework of ''sensible'' regulations which are not heavy-handed.

''We will not be thrown off course by the winds buffeting us from abroad. There is no need for over-reaction, let alone panic.

There is no need for us to get back into the era of controls.

At the same time, we cannot allow things to spin out of control.

This means that liberalisation must be pursued within a framework of sensible but not heavy-handed regulation,'' Mrs Gandhi said in her address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.

Asserting that collaboration was imperative to prevent the harmful effects of the economic slowdown, she stressed the urgent need for greater public investment in physical and social infrastructure and making sure that public systems were made more efficient and responsive.

This would mean adopting a more creative approach to enhance the impact and value of public expenditures, she said and added that the approach had to be anchored in collaborative partnerships and by working with leadership at all levels.

Mrs Gandhi said as an open society, India believed in open economy but not an unregulated one.

''...we will not abandon the prudent and cautious course charted so far under the able leadership of our Prime Minister. But we shall continue to sail the course, with due regard--for the choppy seas in which we now find ourselves,'' she added.

She called for ''prudence'' in financial sector insisting upon transparency in all economic transactions and acountability.

Mrs Gandhi said the government was concerned with small and medium enterprises and their voices should be heard while big names in Indian industry and politicians always manage to catch the headlines.

''It is these lakhs of small and medium enterprises who require sustained assistance as much as others,'' she added.

She said India was not ''immune'' to the current economic slowdown and the popular assertion that Indian economy was ''decoupled'' from the US or Europe had been proved wrong.

''Whether we like or not, we are all inter-connected. we will face difficulties. However, I also believe that the situation will throw up new opportunities in the future,'' she added.


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