London, May 5 (UNI) In a candid admission, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that coalition politics has prevented him from moving as fast as he would like to in areas such as privatisation and labour reforms.
''It's not easy,'' Dr Singh told the 'Financial Times', London about running the 24-party United Progressive Alliance government, which depends on the outside support of the Left parties for its majority in Parliament.
''Some find it difficult to run a single-party government,'' he added while terming the performance of his government in its first two years as ''good'.
In New Delhi, the Left parties reacted to Dr Singh's comments asking him to realise the ground reality that the era of one-party rule in Indian politics was over and the coalition phase was there to stay.
''There is nothing called 'anti-reforms or pro-reforms','' Communist Party of India (Marxist) polit bureau member Sitaram Yechury told UNI. ''The CPI(M) will support those reforms which are pro-people and resist all those reforms which are anti-people,'' he said.
Ahead of the second anniversary of the Congress-led government on May 22, Dr Singh said a policy framework has been laid down to ensure that growth was as inclusive as it could be.
''Last year I got into a lot of trouble because people said I was being unnecessarily modest. I think our performance has been good,'' he said.
After giving six points out of 10 for his government in the first year, Dr Singh said it would be fair to say the performance had not ''deteriorated'' in the second year.
For the third year in a row, India's economic growth has been between 7.5 per cent and 8 per cent, public finances are on the mend, inflation has fallen below 4 per cent and the spirits of entrepreneurs have never been so buoyant, he said.
''The macro-fundamentals are moving in the right direction,'' Dr Singh said adding investment levels at 31 per cent of GDP are at their highest since the reform era was ushered in 15 years ago.
He said it was too early to judge whether his government's programmes were delivering more inclusive growth, but expressed confidence about the success of the flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that promised a minimum of 100 days of employment for every family in backward districts across the country.
''We have put a floor under rural incomes in 200 districts,'' he said, adding ''In the next four to five years the rest of the country will be covered, and if that comes about I think it will be a social security programme of a type never seen in this country.'' The government has put in social safety nets on a wide range of front, which in the next two to three years will convince the people ''we are a caring government that believes in growth with a human face'', Dr Singh said.
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