Saturday July 27th, 2002

The Hindustan Times

WHAT INDIA now needs are faster second generation reforms and elimination of subsidies to emerge as a stronger economic entity. Advocating further opening up and stepping up the pace of reforms, including flexible labour laws, ending reservation for small scale sector and bringing down trade barriers further was Arvind panagariya, a local lad who made it big in academics in the united States of America.

Prof Panagariya, who heads the Centre for International Economics at the University of Maryland, USA was in Jaipur at the invitation of CUTS centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment. In a lecture on ‘Economic Reforms in India: The Way Forward’ here on Friday, the economics professor was all praise for the bold economic decisions taken by the Narasimha Rao government and said that over the years political consensus on the reform process had become stronger.

Although successive governments were committed to the reform process and are taking decisions in the right direction, what is needed is to step up the pace if India is to compete with China.

The government must get out of manufacturing activity and take more interest in playing the role of a facilitator, he said.

He added that there could be no competition to China until big players were allowed entry into all manufacturing activities, hitherto reserved for the small scale sector in India.