New Delhi: Stressing that UPA government’s economic reforms, including FDI in retail, were aimed at ensuring that the benefits percolate to the ‘aam admi’, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday criticised his detractors for trying to “mislead” the people with rumours.
The government, which has pushed through with the decision on allowing FDI in multi-brand retail in the face of much opposition, took the steps as “faster economic reforms will help the country to progress and earn more money to launch welfare schemes to help the poor people,” the prime minister asserted, addressing the Congress party’s mega rally here.
Manmohan Singh said his government has decided to give a push to infrastructure, an area where it lacks, and in the next two years it would build 17,000 km of roads, and also majorly develop the power sector.
He said that it was not enough to usher in economic reforms, “it has to percolate to all the weaker sections and the minorities”.
Touching on his government’s decision to go ahead with foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, on which the Trinamool Congress decided to quit the UPA, Manmohan Singh said benefits from allowing FDI would help farmers, who would get better produce, and the step would also help in generating more employment.
He stressed that small traders would not be harmed. “It is wrong that small traders would be harmed with FDI, this is being said to mislead people,” he said, adding that the experience in other countries has shown that small traders were not affected.
“In a big country like India, both (big brands and small traders) can prosper,” he stressed.
On the decision to hike the prices of diesel, which too fetched a lot of criticism, the prime minister said the subsidy bill of the government had risen alarmingly, which forced the decision as it would affect the country’s economy.
He stressed that the prices of kerosene had not been touched.