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7 Point Reform Agenda submitted to PM & FM by ASSOCHAM
Jul '08
The ASSOCHAM President, Mr. Sajjan Jindal on Wednesday submitted Seven point reform agenda to Prime Minister and Finance Minister, urging to hasten reforms in the changed coalition arrangements of the UPA government.

The key areas in which reforms process is urgently sought by the ASSOCHAM include agriculture, labour without hire and policy, insurance, pension funds, civil aviation, retail and FDIs particularly the Press Note 1, explained the ASSOCHAM Chief.

The Chamber also held that Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. P. Chidambaram in consultation with relevant stakeholders should firm up a time bound programme for next 9 months or so and commit to the nation on priorities a fixed period within which it would re-commence a process in aforesaid areas as proposed by the ASSOCHAM.

The nuclear civil cooperation agreement – the issue on which Dr. Singh was prepared even to risk his government should be pursued in a vigorous and meticulous manner so that it is taken to logical conclusion as soon as possible.

A firm commitment to this effect should be given to the nation by the Prime Minister to completely plug even remote chances for speculations, said Mr. Jindal.

The ASSOCHAM Chief said that despite agriculture performance slightly better than in the past, needs to be further nurtured for higher yield and farmers need to be given high yielding varieties seeds for sowing.

The agriculture yield could accelerate only when India gears itself for 2nd green revolution with application of nano and biotechnology to it.

This, according to ASSOCHAM, is possible through induction of agricultural reforms which shouldn't be delayed any longer, otherwise all our projections and targets relating to agri and horticulture sector for 11th five year plan period are unlikely to be achieved as happened in the successive plan period in the last 30 years.

The ASSOCHAM also emphasized the need to remove Press Note 1 as far as the Foreign Direct Investment Policy of government is concerned.

This note is working as a stumbling block between the two joint venture partners (one domestic, the other one foreign) to expand their operations without necessary approval from domestic partner in the same technology area.

The labour reforms are long overdue. Without hurting the labour, the ASSOCHAM has pointed out that labour reforms with no hire and fire policy are possible with fresh legislation and delays in it should be avoided.

Likewise, insurance reforms and banking reforms should simultaneously be pursued by opening up this sector in a phased manner.

The ASSOCHAM favours at least 74% equity for foreign partners in insurance sector and calls for amendment to Banking Regulation Act of 1949.

Civil aviation is another area which needs to be opened up with participation from overseas civil aviation industries in economies of scale since economic expansion in infrastructure sector is taking place at such a faster speed.

As far as ASSOCHAM is concerned, it holds that civil aviation sector should be opened up and barriers be lifted with new proactive approach towards it, concluded the ASSOCHAM Chief.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India

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