Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who now holds additional charge of the finance ministry, has a free hand to put the reform process back on track, Congress sources have said. And the PM has the support of party chief Sonia Gandhi in his initiative.
Congress sources were of the view that though election results did not depend solely on the countryâ™s growth rate, the latter did play a crucial role in job creation as well as priming investment in social sector flagship schemes.
With the Lok Sabha polls about 18 months away, Sonia and Singh have found a new synergy after the appointment of Pulok Chatterjee as the principal secretary to the PM. The Congress chief is kept in the loop on major ...view middle of the document...
The real problem was lack of numbers in Parliament, especially in the Rajya Sabha and coalition compulsions and not the "so called disconnect between the party and the PM", a senior leader said.
According to sources within the Congress, UPA constituents - the Trinamool Congress in particular - had been opposing reform measures such as FDI in multi-brand retail, the pension and insurance Bills and Land Acquisition Act. They said that in addition to this internal hurdle, several BJP ruled states had reservations about GST.
In his budget speech in early May, Mukherjee had stated that the government would give a thrust to insurance and pension reform legislations as well as banking law amendment Bills.
But opposition from the Trinamool, Left parties and a section of the BJP put a spanner in the UPA's works. Congress sources said the parliamentary standing committee on finance, headed by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, had not favoured an increase in FDI cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in both insurance and pension.
"We (the party) are absolutely committed to reforms," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said on Sunday. He added that the UPA's economic policy stood on two legs - "high growth and robust investment in equity".