interaction session with Mr K P Geethakrishnan, former
Union Finance Secretary
and Chairman of Expenditure Reforms Commission, Government
of India was held on Friday the 14th June 2002 at
Madras. The report of 'The Hindu' (India's leading
National Newspaper) dated 15th June 2002 is given below:
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Reforms: Better off urged to make sacrifices
must concentrate on priority areas
June 14 : The rationale behind the report of
Expenditure Reforms Commission is not that certain job
cannot be done by the Government but that they could be
left to the private sector, so that government resources
could be concentrated on priority tasks, according to the
Commission Chairman, K P Geethakrishnan.
in a meeting organised by the Prime Point Foundation here
today, Mr Geethakrishnan said the main task was to improve
the quality of life of the people, especially those linked
to the vast land-based rural economy, by expanding outlays
on primary education, primary health care and other social
will be no reduction in the total expenditure of the
Government" if the recommendations of the commission
are implemented, but the priorities in outlays and
subsidies would be different compared to the decades
before economic reform was initiated in practice from 1985
Mr Geethakrishnan said.
the objective of improvement of the human development
index through a higher rate of economic growth as the
primary rationale behind economic reform, he said the
second major rationale was the need to earn enough foreign
exchange by exporting competitive and quality products to
finance vital imports of petroleum and fertilisers.
He called for 'sacrifices' from the 'better off' and
organised sections of the populace in terms of reduction
in subsidies and higher tax compliance.
Geethakrishnan said only a small part of the reform agenda
had been implemented so far and positive results of reform
could be in evidence only after full scale implementation
"covering 196 more aspects", including in
respect of areas such as agriculture, land market, labour
laws and interest rates.
reform process had not been initiated in time, India would
have faced the type of total collapse that post-Soviet
Russia and Indonesia witnessed, he said.
Raghavan, former Chairman of Indian Bank said more than
the issue of recovery of non performing assets (NPAs) of
banks, what should cause concern was the increasing
reluctance on the part of banks to lend for fear of being
penalised for commercial decisions which might go wrong
for reasons beyond their control.
participants from the floor representing trade unions,
small industry and academia opposed reforms on the ground
that these were leading to closure of domestic industries
and high levels of unemployment especially among the
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