Pranab says corruption is hurting inclusive growth

New Delhi, April 9 (Agencies): Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday admitted that corruption is hurting inclusive growth in India and the benefits of the economic growth are not reaching a large section of society, which is a matter of concern. “It is evident that the fruits of growing prosperity of the economy are not being enjoyed equally by all our citizens. There are gaps in our development efforts and in our governance practices,” Mukherjee said during his inaugural address at the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Speaking on ‘Securing the Future: Framework for Inclusive Growth’, the finance minister accepted that there are several loopholes in the current system and the poor are worst hit by corruption. “Corruption in the system has hit the poor the most and an inclusive development agenda cannot succeed without addressing these issues,” Mukherjee added. According to the finance minister, the country’s economic development should be more holistic to be able to bring about sustained improvement in the living standards of the masses besides making available to them affordable healthcare and social security, among other things. “It is not sufficient to have good intentions and good policies. These have to be implemented and acted upon. That requires collective efforts,” he said, adding that inclusive the growth agenda of the government cannot take place without tackling corruption.
“Our notion of inclusive growth also needs to be much broader than merely poverty alleviation. It should include equality of opportunity for a productive and meaningful life with freedom and dignity,” Mukherjee said. “It is equally important that the available public resources are effectively used. We are acutely conscious that if these resources have to bear fruit, we will have to tackle issues of governance and service delivery,” Mukherjee said. Pranab Mukherjee said that the government has already taken initiatives like putting in place the Right to Information (RTI) and Right to Education and is in the process of drafting the Food Security Bill to ensure the Right to Food for all citizens.
The FM’s comments came in the backdrop of the anti-corruption campaign being spearheaded by social activist Anna Hazare, which is gaining huge support from all sections of society. Incidentally, the finance minister is heading a ministerial panel on corruption, which is looking into various features that are to be included in the Lokpal Bill. When asked about the agitation by Anna Hazare, he said that his appeal to Anna is to end his fast. “We are already talking to him and trying to discuss things. We are trying to solve the matter,” Mukherjee said.