Anand Sharma refutes perception of crony capitalism, calls for more transparency

New Delhi, Mar.26: Industry and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday said that crony capitalism that appears to have hijacked the ongoing narrative is a wrong perception and added that it cannot be sustained.

Delivering the inaugural address at the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Sharma said: “I refute the perception created with theatrical colors of crony capitalism. This is untrue and it must not be sustained.”

Sharma also said adding that new changes demand electoral reforms where a national corpus could be created for political parties to ensure transparency in the political process.

While, India, like any other country in other parts of the world has its share of frauds like the Satyam case, the one by chit funds or even the latest Sahara case, there is a robust system that demands accountability.

“Yes there are aberrations but corrections do take place,” the minister said elaborating on the theme set by CII ‘Managing Change: Role of Leadership and Institutions’.

Leadership, according to Sharma, would need to adapt and innovate to meet the new changes and challenges.

Hinting at the negative narrative that has clouded the investment climate, Sharma also said that the government has to keep its responsibilities of a welfare state in mind while framing policies.

Citing an example, Sharma said that while a lot is made out of scams particularly in natural resources, the government is guided by the philosophy of welfare state where natural resources have to be shared and profit maximisation cannot be its objective.

“The government’s job is to provide services in crucial areas like health, education and ensure that citizens rights’ are protected. The UPA government had worked towards enabling citizens with rights like the right to information, right to education, right to livelihood and right to food among others,” Sharma added while emphasizing that the judiciary has to ensure that rights are protected and is affordable and accessible.

Touching upon key areas of reforms, Sharma spoke of the need for electoral and judicial reforms that could bring in transparency and increase accountability in the political process.

“Policy makers have to make policies and be accountable to the people who elect them, while the judiciary should work towards reducing pending cases so that justice is delivered in time,” he added.

In his last address as Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sharma lauded the role played by industry in spearheading and managing change in the past 10 years.

He was speaking at the CII national conference and annual session in New Delhi on Wednesday. Presenting virtually a score-card of the past two regimes of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the minister underlined the fact that progress on every front had been impressive – government funding of education had increased eight times, foreign direct investment (FDI) had gone up by 15 times and the expenditure on health had jumped six times.

Commenting on the aptness of the theme “Managing Change: Role of Leadership and Institutions”, he said leadership was important at every level in business, administration, judiciary and media

Elaborating on changes and reforms, Anand Sharma said that any government will have to be led by liberalisation coupled with a sustainable regulatory system. The minister also emphasised the role of a free and vocal media he also cautioned that there was a need to have regulatory mechanisms in this sector as is the case worldwide.

Welcoming Sharma at the annual session, CII President Mr S Gopalakrishnan said CII was fortunate to have benefited from the guidance of the minister with whom its leaders travelled to 11 countries and he was also the chief guest at 24 of the chamber’s events.

Employment generation, working with labour unions, education, skill development, modernisation of manufacturing sector, taxation, governance and competitive solutions for medium,small and micro-enterprises (MSMEs) were among the areas which he said CII was working on.

President-designate Ajay Shriram thanked the minister for the policy initiatives of his government which he said had borne fruit. Stability of the rupee and approval of 16 new manufacturing corridors were initiatives which were going to be of tremendous benefit to industry.

He also lauded the New Manufacturing Policy which incorporates several recommendations of CII and ended by saying that the chamber looked forward to working with the minister in his new avatar. (ANI)