Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed for fresh efforts to keep socio-economic inequalities under control in India. Speaking at an event in Bengaluru, the world-renowned economist confessed that the process of economic reforms that he was part of was still incomplete.
"I was part of a process of economic reforms that aimed at opening up opportunities for people born without social privileges. I must confess that the process is not complete," the former Prime Minister said.
Dr Singh was the chief guest at the inauguration of academic session of Dr B R Ambedkar School of Economics in Bengaluru- Karnataka government's initiative to set up a research-oriented institution for Economics at the cost of Rs 200 crore.
While he refrained from speaking about the current economic growth rate, inflation, impact of GST and demonetisation, Dr Manmohan Singh highlighted the need to curb inequality in socio-economic terms and said that the country needed a fresh economic policy to ensure growth and sustain it.
"The policy should be a judicious mix of both- high rate of economic growth and a strong focus on containing economic inequalities. Development planning and the Planning Commission were designed to ensure that while our economy grew, inequalities did not grow. Now with the abolition of the planning commission, fresh efforts have to be made keep inequality under control," he added.
Former RBI governor, Dr C Rangarajan, who was a guest at the event, highlighted how dwindling investments were the reason for the slow economic growth in the country. Dr Manmohan Singh did not forget to highlight his government's achievements in terms of attempting to bring about social justice through welfare schemes.
"During the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government, the Food Security Act was passed and Karnataka implemented it successfully. Government under Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has launched Anna Bhagya scheme which has benefitted 1.16 crore families. The UPA also waived farm loans worth Rs 72,000 crore and I am glad to know that Karnataka has also waived loan of farmers," Dr Singh said. His statements come as a build-up to the assembly elections that will be held in Karnataka in 2018.