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Which side are you, Montek?

EXCERPTS FROM the speech of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, M S Ahluwalia( MSA) at the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry is published elsewhere in this issue. I was dumbstruck by Ahluwalia so eloquently articulating the problems afflicting the economy as someone from an opposition party. I wonder whether MSA could so facilely disown responsibility.

After all, the Planning Commission, which he has been heading for nine years, has the mission to monitor progress. The Economic Survey points to over 700 projects involving an outlay of over Rs 750,000 crore getting struck at different levels. These include the Rs 50,000 crore Posco steel plant and the Ultra Mega Power Projects mooted as early as 2005. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is only too aware of the need to augment power generation capacity in quick time. The plan to provide electricity to all has been a mantra recited too often. Still the power sector is in a mess.

States like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which were once power-full, suffer severe shortages. The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure set up to monitor major projects should have been in place years ago. It could have checked the negativism of Jairam Ramesh, Medha Patkar and Jayanthi Natarajan in time.



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