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UPA endorses government's economic reform measures

September 27, 2012 14:50 IST

After Congress, the United Progressive Alliance on Thursday endorsed government's recent tough economic decisions and discussed the need "to do more reforms".

At a meeting of constituents of the UPA, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined the need for economic reforms to ensure flow of foreign investment.

A fortnight after the announcement to allow FDI in retail, cap cooking gas subsidy and hike diesel prices, the leaders of the ruling coalition on Thursday expressed "general satisfaction" over the decisions, which saw the exit of Trinamool Congress -- the second largest UPA constituent.

"We reviewed the situation following the number of decisions announced in the last 10 days. There was general satisfaction that many of the steps taken by the government, although some of them would put a burden on the people, have been welcomed by stakeholders as necessary and unavoidable," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters.

"The need to do more reforms was discussed," he said.

He said by and large the message had gone to the people that these measures were unavoidable and necessary.

"We thank the people for their understanding," he said.

The meeting of the UPA committee, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, comes two days after the Congress Working Committee endorsed the government's decisions on economic reforms.

At the UPA Coordination Committee meeting, Chidambaram said the prime minister underlined the need for a number of measures to ensure that investments continue to flow in India.

"The prime minister underlined the need for a number of measures that will ensure that there is no volatility in the rupee and investments continue to flow into India as well as stimulate domestic investors so that they would also invest in the economy," he said.

The finance minister said that the meeting did not discuss specific reform measures like FDI in insurance and pension.

The finance minister replied in affirmative when asked whether the reforms will continue.

He said though no specific reform measures were talked about in the meeting, the need to bring further reforms were discussed.

A meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Tuesday had fully backed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by endorsing government's new economic reform decisions with party President Sonia Gandhi saying that the reforms were "very necessary" and the government has begun the moves in that direction.

The endorsement by the UPA Coordination Committee of the government's economic measures today apparently aims at dispelling the notion that the prime minister or the Congress was isolated on the issue of reform measures.

Opposition had alleged that the decision on FDI in multi-brand retail was a "minority decision" even within the UPA as constituents are opposed to it.

While Trinamool Congress walked out of the alliance on the issue, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had organised a bandh against the diesel hike and LPG cap on September 20 coinciding with the nation-wide agitation by the Opposition against the government's economic reform measures.

Chidamabaram said the issue of Sethusamudram project also came up for discussion in the meeting and it was stated that the ministry of shipping will file an affidavit in the Supreme Court, when the matter comes up for hearing.

He said the government had received the report of the Pachauri Committee and a final view on it will be taken by the Cabinet. The committee had gone into the issue of alternate alignment for navigation channel to save the mythical Ramsethu.

One of the members also raised the problems of coconut growers in states. Responding to it, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that a market intervention is already in place and states have to implement the same.

Chidambaram said that the Agriculture Minister will be visiting the coconut growing states mainly Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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