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India lags due to bad governance: Advani
Onkar singh in New Delhi | July 31, 2003 19:19 IST
Last Updated: July 31, 2003 19:21 IST
Admitting that bad governance was hampering India's efforts to make full use of its resources, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on Thursday said lack of development was as good as not having freedom.
He made this observation during his inaugural address at the 'National Seminar on Development as Freedom: An Indian Perspective' in New Delhi, where Nobel laureate Amartya Sen also spoke.
While lauding Professor Sen for introducing a much-needed balance to the debate on development, he said, "Professor Sen correctly reminds us that the lack of development is indeed 'unfreedom'. He has taught us that development is both an end in itself and also a means to enable people to have the freedom they cherish."
"Mahatma Gandhi said that after attaining Swaraj (self rule) we need to have Suraj (good governance)," Advani recollected.
He said that the National Democratic Alliance government has set a goal to translate Professor Sen's ideas into reality.
"Our prime minister has presented an energising vision to make India a developed nation by 2020," he said.
"Despite the fact that India has all the resources - human and natural - that are needed to achieve a high level of development for her citizens, sadly for a number of well-known reasons, mostly to do with governance, we have lagged behind," he admitted.
"We shall make India a developed nation before the end of the next decade and make the 21st Century India's century," Advani added.
Meanwhile, he lamented the fact that people of eminence, including Professor Sen, still questioned the secular credentials of the National Democratic Alliance government.
"We are ready to have an open debate on the matter," he said.
He said terrorism has emerged as the most potent enemy of peace, development, freedom and social harmony in all the countries that it has targeted.
While condemning cross-border terrorism, Advani said the biggest threat to the country's external and internal security today was cross-border terrorism fueled by religious extremism.
"Indeed, it (terrorism) has threatened and jeopardised peace, development, freedom, democracy and social tranquility even in the country in our neighbourhood, which has made terrorism as a part of its state policy," he said.
"These ideologies held sway in the 20th century in several parts of the world. But the closing decades of the last century witnessed how many totalitarian regimes ultimately crumbled under the weight of powerful peoples's movements for democracy," he pointed out.
In a sign of the times, Advani, who was slated to speak after Professor Sen, had to rush to Parliament following an explosion in Jogeshwari (in suburban Mumbai) early on Thursday morning that left six persons dead.
Speaking about development issues and security, he said, "Professor Sen has identified transparency guarantees and protective security as two of the conditions for development."
"Since I have the charge of home ministry and internal security, I cannot agree with him more on the issue of security," he added.