From KO Archives | Vajpayee Swears By Secularism

Vows To Create New Work Culture

New Delhi- Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today declared that his coalition government will initiate speedy internal liberalisation of the economy, allow upto Rs 1,500 crore of foreign direct investment in states in the power sector and strive to create a new work culture.

The government is committed to speedy internal liberalisation of the economy, freeing it from all the growth-hindering bureaucratic and government controls, 72-year-old Vajpayee said in his first broadcast to the nation.

Vajpayee said in the turbulence of the world markets and in the new emerging regime of the world trade organisation, India's principle responsibility should be to safeguard and, promote the country's interest.

Asserting that a major area of focus will be restructuring centre-state relations and decentralising financial and administrative powers to states, he said as a first step, the government will urgently devise legal and executive changes so that decision can be taken directly by states in regard to sectors such as power. Even in regard to foreign direct investments upto, say, Rs. 1,500 crore, he said.

In his broadcast, the Prime _Minister said we must restore the credibility of public life and public institutions, making them once again reliable and independent pillars of state.

Noting that the country must give up the harmful path of confrontation, he said my government is unequivocally committed to the concept of secularism… we treasure it.

Stressing that his government would reach out to talent across the country, Vajpayee said it shall strive to create a new work culture, a world class working environment so that the best remain here to build our country, so that those who are now working elsewhere return, and put their prodigious acumen to work for their country.

The Prime Minister said he would personally monitor programmes for doubling female literacy within ten years, vastly improving medical care for daughters and mothers, protecting self-respect for women and empowering them politically through reservation in parliament and State Assemblies.

On relations with India's neighbors, Vajpayee said the BJP-led coalition will strain every nerve to accelerate the trend in the last few years to improve relations with neighbouring countries.

We are determined to be friend with all—and precisely because we happen to be the largest country, we shall be all the more sensitive to the aspirations and needs of our neighbours that applies to Pakistan as much as to our other neighbours, he said.  (PTI)

(Kashmir Observer, 23 March, 1998)

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