NREGA-like schemes to be launched to offset meltdown: Pranab

Pranab Mukherjee

"Apart from NREGA, other schemes will be introduced to augment the buying power of poor people so that production by companies are not affected because of less demand," Mukherjee said at the inauguration of the 28th conference of the West Bengal unit of the INTUC.

The minister said he had a talk with Congress president Sonia Gandhi who had asked him to talk to INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy to hear the workers' position and expectations before formulating the future economic policy.

"We will sit in Delhi next week and discuss the issue of 'aam admi's' needs before formulating the policies," he said to a full-house at the Rabindra Sarobar stadium here.

Mukherjee said that the government would take steps and decide on economic policies keeping in mind the interests of general people and the working class.

"Though we want that exports to Europe and America rise, we can not wait till their economies look up in the present world economic scenario. So to keep our economy vibrant, we have to ensure that the buying power of people in our country rise," he said.

Emphasising that the Indian economy has not been much affected by the worldwide slump as it is not a market-driven economy, Mukherjee said while banking system in the developed world were facing harsh times, the Indian banks were doing quite well.

"Our banking system has not collapsed as over 90 per cent banking in India remains in government control," he said.

PSU banks have played a big role in ensuring that the country's economy remains vibrant, he said.

Referring to his recent inauguration of 154 branches and 2151 ATMs of the State Bank of India countrywide electronically, he said a bank's health was indicated by three parameters -- branch expansion, deposit mobilisation and credit disbursal.

Speaking on the occasion, INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy said that while the government was cooperating in getting through workers' welfare initiatives, "it is the Left trade unions, specially CITU, which comes between the workers' interests and the government's goodwill".

Lambasting the Left Front government in West Bengal as well as CITU for workers' woes, he claimed the number of factories closed in the state alone was more than the total number of closed units all over India.

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