ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ACCORDING to the 'Statement on industrial policy5 made in Parliament by the minister of state for industry on Wednesday, "what is needed above all is a set of pragmatic policies which will remove the lingering constraints to industrial production", To be sure, the statement lists the "socio-economic objectives" within which this is to be done. These include maximisation of use of installed capacity and production, employment generation, correction of regional imbalances, faster promotion of export-oriented and import- substitution industries and, modishly, even consumer protection. What is, however, conspicuous by its absence is any indication that it ought to be the objective of industrial policy, above all, to regulate investment and production according to some scheme of social priorities, encouraging production of essential goods of mass consumption and discouraging that of non-essential goods used by the upper income groups. In a society such as ours characterised by extreme disparities in income and purchasing power, with one-half of the population living at or below poverty levels, there can be no mystery about the direction in which investment and real resources will flow in the absence of conscious regulation by State policy. That at least this particular omission in the 'statement on industrial policy' is not a chance occurrence is clear from the rest of the statement, especially from the intent of the few specific policy changes made. In the quest for "pragmatic policies which will remove the lingering constraints to industrial production", no quarter can obviously be offered to considerations of what is produced and for whom.

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