PM Manmohan Singh speaks about inflation, corruption

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Worry about inflation legitimate: PM
New Delhi, Dec 18: With price rise being attributed as one of the prime reasons for the Congress poll debacle, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the "worry about inflation is legitimate" but noted that incomes of most people have increased faster than inflation.

At a time when the issue of corruption is also seen going against the UPA, Singh said, "We have not eliminated corruption. But the fact is that we have done more than any earlier government for bringing in transparency and accountability in the work of public authorities."

While acknowledging that "inflation is an area of weakness" for which the government is criticised, the Prime Minister said, "It is true that the rate of inflation has increased but this is primarily because food inflation has increased.

Singh: Opposition's simplistic solutions will not provide workable solutions

"As consumers we would naturally want food prices to be low but we must remember that those who produce food-whether it is foodgrains or vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk etc. gain from higher prices," he said addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting.

The Prime Minister also made a veiled attack on the Opposition, saying "simplistic solutions will not provide workable solutions".

He said that it was important to reflect on why the government gets less credit for its achievements "than perhaps they deserve". "The answer is that rapid economic growth, social change and political empowerment of the last decade have given rise to new aspirations especially among the youth. The electronic media is quick to project visual evidence of the progress in many parts of the country especially in Urban India.

"The same media makes us more aware of the extent of deprivation, which still affects many families. Insecurity for women and corruption at different levels are other areas of focus. In this environment, it is not surprising that governments are under pressure to deliver more and perform better. Political parties in Opposition can exploit this to their advantage," Singh said.

On the issue of corruption, he said the public debate on the issue has been dominated by problems associated with the allocation of natural resources such as spectrum, coal and land. "The central government is concerned only with spectrum and coal. Both have generated controversies but it is important to realise that the controversy relates to the operation of a system of allocation, which we did not invent. We only continued with the system we inherited.

There have been allegations of wrong doing in the allocation process of both spectrum and coal. We have initiated action under the law. Ministers and senior civil servants have been indicted," he said without elaborating.


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