Indian industry cheers new prime minister

Monday, 24 May 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Indian industry Saturday welcomed the swearing in of Manmohan Singh as the new prime minister, hoping the Congress-led alliance would work towards achieving higher growth rate.

"Under Manmohan Singh's leadership, the process of reforms would be sustained and the country would be able to grow at a rate of seven to eight percent," said Anand Mahindra, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Mahindra hoped the new coalition government would work in the areas of infrastructure development, manufacturing growth, rural economy, healthcare, education and water management.

"The country is privileged to have a prime minister of the stature and excellent qualities that Manmohan Singh personifies," he said in a statement.

India's first coalition led by the Congress party took office Saturday headed by internationally renowned economist Manmohan Singh, who has pledged to provide a stable and secular government.

On the appointment of new ministers, the CII president said: "The composition reflects a fine blend of experience and youth, with many leaders having a track record of successful performance in the past in different capacities."

Yogendra Modi, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said industry was confident that Manmohan Singh and his ministers would "deepen and broaden" the reforms agenda.

Mahendra Sanghi, president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), hoped the government would take serious measures for curtailing unproductive expenditure and downsize the bureaucracy.

"The government's emphasis on urban-rural connectivity by extending support to the agriculture sector will create conducive environment for enhancing purchasing power in the rural sector that will give impetus to the industrial growth," he said.

On the government's decision not to privatise profit-making public sector units, Sanghi said the industry extended full support to the decision but wanted the government to give the state-owned enterprises more autonomy.

Source: IANS
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