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Ambani now: Govt needs to move faster

After Deepak Parekh and Azim Premji,Ambani sends a strong message to political leadership.

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai | Published: November 14, 2011 12:56:02 am

After Deepak Parekh and Azim Premji,leading industrialist Mukesh Ambani on Sunday sent a strong message to the political leadership,seeking dramatic changes in the way governments are run and decisions taken.

The chairman of Reliance Industries,the largest Indian company in terms of market value,called for a “dramatic shift in governance” and asked both the central and state governments to “align and move a lot faster”.

“Within this path,from the 20th-century mindset to the 21st-century delivery model,to meet the expectations of every citizen requires a dramatic shift in terms of our governance. Both the central and state governments need to align and move a lot faster,” he said at the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum.

“In today’s world of aspirations,people want instant gratification… everything is instantaneous and everything needs to happen now… I think what we need is to put our heads down and figure out how do we deliver in terms of making sure that all the framework is defined,at the same time we are still able to move fast,” he said.

Hinting that he’s worried over many key reforms and Bills being put on hold due to a lack of political consensus,Ambani said: “I think there’s a mismatch… We are both heading in the same direction — and sometimes,like you have seen in the US and Europe,that’s the price of democracy — but we shouldn’t (stall) by saying that because the institutions of democracy are there,we will be paralysed. And because there is an opposition… we would do nothing. This is what worries me.”

Asking the government to speed up decision-making and improve governance,the Reliance chairman said,“We need to get a minimum agreement in terms of saying that at the end of the day,we are there working for all people and we have to have a pathway to move into 21st-century governance so that the rules are redefined and we can meet the aspirations of millions of our young people.”

Ambani said 20 years of economic liberalisation had brought 150 million people out of poverty and doubled our GDP and trebled per capita income. “There is an urgent need for more coordinated attempts to continue in this endeavour and to sustain our higher growth trajectory. The last 20 years have seen the energy of every section of our society getting unshackled as the industry adopted a bottom-up approach to growth. India is not a land of a billion problems but a land of a billion opportunities,” he said.

A group of prominent citizens,including Deepak Parekh,had recently expressed concerns over “governance deficit”,delay in reforms and scams in the country.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said he was hopeful that the coming winter session of Parliament,although likely to be turbulent,would succeed in passing many of the pending legislations. “There is no room for complacency. The country has to generate jobs for millions of young Indians joining the workforce every year,it has to give skills to millions to make them employable,it has to curb inflation without dampening consumption,and it has to satisfy hope for a better life. Fortunately,the fundamentals of our economy are strong. That is what is providing hope and stability,” Sharma said.

Sharma and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan,who also spoke at the WEF summit,agreed that India must move fast on long-delayed reforms as the country needs more access to capital to grow — that too faster and more inclusive — and the new prosperity has unleashed huge aspirations among the young population.

Sharma said the complexity of India and the difficulty of reconciling its extraordinary diversity of ideologies and opinions combine to make fast decision-making very difficult,but it is precisely fast decision-making that India currently needed. This is the reason India’s next wave of economic reforms — in the financial sector,the retail industry and in labour reforms — has been delayed,Sharma said.

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