This Day 25 years ago: A reassuring address

The President, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma's address to the joint session of Parliament on Monday has once again reiterated the Government's resolve to attune the on-going liberalisation of the economy to the needs of the poor and the exploited in our society. The so-called human face of the economic reforms will get sharper focus henceforth, the President told Parliament on the opening day of its budget session. The President seemed to be responding to the criticism of the economic reforms when he asserted that they had indeed yielded “beneficial changes” and what is more, had received an excellent response abroad. Whether or not that remark was aimed at the expelled Congress leader Arjun Singh who had criticised reforms in the wake of the Congress Party's rout in the Assembly elections in the south a couple of months ago, the message that the liberalisation process would not be abandoned came out clearly from Dr Sharma's address. This is welcome, for the reform of the economy cannot be contingent on the whims and fancies of rival politicians. Dr Sharma did well indeed to emphasise the need “to strengthen the confidence of investors in our economy and of the people, particularly the underpriviledged in the economic reforms”. Reviewing the overall growth of the economy, the President noted that the gross domestic product was expected to increase by 5.3 per cent in 1994-95 as against 4.3 per cent last year.