New Delhi, Dec 23 In the backdrop of severe criticism by corporate leaders of his government's decision-making capabilities, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said it was "a little disappointing" to hear such negative comments.
At a meeting of the Council on Trade and Industry here, Manmohan Singh also voiced concern over the "difficult circumstances" in global economy, high inflation in the domestic front and the sharp depreciation of the rupee.
"I must confess that it is a little disappointing to sometimes hear negative comments emanating from our business leadership or be told that government's policies are causing slowdown and pessimism in the industrial sector," he said at the meeting attended by leaders of private enterprise in the country.
"Such comments have added to uncertainty and have emboldened those who have no stake in our economic growth," he said.
Wipro chairman Azim Premji had in October this year joined a few other corporate leaders in saying that absence of decision-making in the government was a matter of concern.
The prime minister said it is true that India faced a large number of issues which need urgent resolution.
"The energy sector, the port sector, the transport sector, the supply of gas and coal, all need greater attention. Corruption and better governance also require firm handling. I wish to assure you that our government is serious about tackling these issues.
"We are committed to ensuring the predictability and transparency of our policy and regulatory environment," he said, seeking their support when the government attempts measures that are in public interest.
Noting that the external environment posing significant challenges, he said there is continued possibility of a potentially severe crisis in the Eurozone and the US growth has continued to be sluggish.
"In the near future, we cannot hope to see the same growth impulses from the West as we see prior to the meltdown. Coupled with this are issues of international food price volatility and the increase in oil prices," he said.
Manmohan Singh said the situation in the domestic front too was equally "a matter of concern" and stated that the persistent high inflation for some time now "is unacceptable".
"We have to steer the economy back to the path of fiscal consolidation," he said.
The prime minister noted that the purchasing power of the people had gone up, but the supply side's response so far was muted.
"We believe that with the policy focus on improving agricultural production and productivity, our economy will soon be able to step up the production of food articles, thereby controlling inflation in these products," he said.
He also said the sharp depreciation of the Rupee is also a matter of concern, adding that the government was watching the situation very closely and will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent wild fluctuations.