Shift in power towards ordinary citizen: PM
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on March 18 reiterated the government’s commitment to providing reservations for women in local bodies, state legislatures and parliament. Addressing the India Today conclave, the Prime Minister said he was “committed to providing reservation of 50 percent in local bodies, and up to a third in legislatures and parliament”.
“If there is one defining characteristic of changes in India, it is the shift in power towards the ordinary citizen,” Dr. Singh said, adding that the country had seen rapid economic change and growth.
Excerpts from the PM’s speech:
“The subject of this year’s Conclave is indeed, thought provoking. Looking around us, not just in India but at the world around us as well, it is clear that the balance of power has indeed shifted, both within and between states.
If there is one defining characteristic of the changes that we see in India and the world, it is the shift in power towards the ordinary citizen.
In India, we have seen rapid economic change and growth since 1991. What is less evident but equally significant is the fundamental deepening of our democracy that has been brought about through the empowerment of local institutions, broadened civil society action and a policy of inclusive social and economic growth. This has led to a shift in power from the institutions of state to the citizens of our country.
In 1991, we unleashed the entrepreneurial energies of our people by dismantling the license-permit raj. This released individual creative energies to produce the wealth that we need for fulfilling our responsibility of offering a life of equal opportunity and dignity to our citizens.
The policies of the Government in recent times have sought to remake the democratic state of India, to make processes of social and economic change more inclusive and thereby empowering over a billion people, one sixth of humanity. It is in fact a mandate that derives from our Constitution.
We have sought to make political democracy meaningful through social democracy by addressing the specific needs of excluded or marginalised sections of our society like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities and women. We are committed to providing reservation to women to the extent of 50 percent in local bodies and up to a third in the state legislatures and in our Parliament.
We have sought to bridge several divides in our country simultaneously: the infrastructural divide through Bharat Nirman, the educational divide through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Right to Education, the health divide through the National Rural Health Mission and exclusion through targeted affirmative action programmes for minorities, Scheduled Castes and by restoration of the rights of indigenous people or Scheduled Tribes over forests and forest produce. We are moving towards providing broadband connectivity to all our 2,50,000 panchayats so that modern technology is harnessed for the empowerment of our citizens.
We have introduced landmark legislations that provide citizens the Right to Information, the Right to Education and the Right to Work through the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act. We have intensified our efforts for the emancipation of our women. Our efforts to create equal educational opportunities through targeted programmes for girls’ education and specific economic programmes focused on women particularly through self-help groups are all gradually bearing fruit. Our major challenge going forward is to give our women political voice and to work out and implement effective strategies for gender equality.”
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'Business opportunities in India can fuel growth'
The UK-India Business Council (UKIBC) organised the UKIBC Summit 2011 on March 10 at Manchester, with the theme ‘UK and India: Building a 21st Century Special Relationship’.
More than 500 businesses were represented at the largest ever India-focused business conference. It aimed to help boost sluggish North West exports to India.
In his opening remarks, High Commissioner Nalin Surie recalled British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to India to help expand trade and investment between the two countries.
In his speech he said:
“Thank you for inviting me to the UKIBC Annual Summit 2011. A very warm welcome to the Indian delegation and our U.K. colleagues.
Given the importance of the SME sector in both our countries, it is befitting that this meeting is taking place in Manchester. Collaboration and cooperation among Indian and U.K. SMEs is for me personally, an area of focus in our effort to further strengthen the India-UK partnership.
The theme of this particular inaugural session is entitled “Building a 21st Century Special Relationship”. I personally do not wish to look ahead so far as to visualise what may or should happen by the end of this century. My focus is more on the next 15 to 20 years.
During Prime Minister Cameron’s visit to India last July, we have agreed to build on our existing strategic partnership to establish an enhanced partnership for the future. Trade,
investment and energy were identified as important components of this partnership and it was decided that we would be ambitious in seeking to substantially increase trade and significantly increase investment between our two countries. For us, in India, this translates into an effort to double trade between our two countries in the next 5 years and to more substantially enhance U.K. investment in India and investment through the City of London in critical sectors in India especially infrastructure.
India already figures in a reasonably significant manner in the UK’s economic system. Britain is the top investment destination for Indian investment in Europe. Around 700 Indian companies are operating in the U.K. A recent newspaper report quoting the City of London said that India was the third largest foreign investor in the U.K. after the U.S. and China, with 23 new companies and
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'Invest India', the Investment Facilitation Agency for India'
Companies interested in investing in India may contact ‘Invest India’, a notfor- profit joint venture between the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, various State Governments in India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
INVEST INDIA CAN:
- guide foreign investors in all their queries and offer handholding services to them in Delhi and in the States with special focus on SMEs;
- act as the support and secretariat for processing recommendation on investment related issues/business climate;
- encourage interaction with academics, intellectuals and industry and trade organisations and Government departments on investment issues;
- identify and connect with potential.
- Joint Venture partners/ technical collaborations; and
- provide coordination for Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).
Invest India can be contacted at the following address:
Mr. V.K. Topa
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