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Industry blames Cong not Left for reservation row

By Super

New Delhi, Apr 19: India Inc today blamed the Congress and not the Left combine for raking up issue like reservation of jobs in the private sector, which would create roadblocks for the country to achieve a 12 per cent growth in manufacturing.

''Reservation is not the doing of the Left parties; it is the Congress Party which is talking about it'', Chief Mentor of the Confederation of Indian Industry told Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath at the CII National Conference here.

However, the Commerce and Industry Minister later told reporters that the issue of the reservation would not affect the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which has touched a record level of 7.2 billion dollar in 2005-06, increasing by over 50 per cent per annum.

He said if the trend continues, India would attract an FDI of 10 billion dollar in the current financial year.

The issue of reservation of employment in the private sector has pitted the apex chamber against the move of the government. CII leaders like Rahul Bajaj and Sunil Bharti Mittal have opposed any legislation on the issue.

Picking up the thread from the debate on the issue, the CII Chief Mentor asked the Commerce and Industry Minister to act as a ''father figure'' for the Indian industry and protect their interests within the government and the Cabinet.

Bajaj Group chief and past CII President Mr Bajaj echoed a similar sentiment and said '' we look upon you to protect the interest of the industry''.

He said while Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar has her political ''constituency'', the national interest should be borne in mind while taking any decision on the issue of reservation.

The CII Chief Mentor also blamed the Congress for holding back the reform agenda on various other issues. He asked why the government was not moving and dereserving 350 items reserved for the small scale sector.

Meanwhile, Mr Kamal Nath assured the industry that the FTAs were not meant to be totally Free Trade Agreements. ''They are the Economic Cooperation Agreements with tariff concessions''. He said the interest of the Indian industry would be protected while signing these agreements.

Mr Bajaj said the government should be careful while entering into the FTAs since it should be the Indian industry which should be winner and the other way round.

As regards economic reforms, Mr Bajaj said there was no ''consensus among the political parties'' since the Left did not approve many of the policies of the government.


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