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Bimal Jalan calls for political reform, functional autonomy for institutions

"Functional autonomy to UPSC, Election Commission, CAG is important," Jalan said at an event celebrating 202nd anniversary of Presidency University in Kolkata.

, ET Bureau|
Jan 20, 2019, 07.13 PM IST
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Bimal Jalan said administration needs to work much more on public interest, rather the government's interest.
Bimal Jalan, former Reserve Bank of India Governor and a former bureaucrat, said the India needs to ensure functional autonomy for its institutions such as Election Commission or Comptroller & Auditor General; and suggested that implementation of government policies be decentralised from the policy making body in order to ensure economic development.

"These institutions are accountable to people," Jalan said Kolkata Sunday, suggesting that the country needs to go through political reform to make it happen.

"Functional autonomy to UPSC, Election Commission, CAG is important," Jalan said at an event celebrating 202nd anniversary of Presidency University in Kolkata.

There has been controversies over the issues related to autonomy of institutions such as RBI, Central Bureau of Investigation, Election Commission and the government has often been criticised for undermining their independence.

"RBI is autonomous," he said, responding to his view on the central bank and the raging debate over the issue which led to the exit of Governor Urjit Patel.

"If we take a long view, India's economic fundamentals are very strong. "Yet, we have to accept the fact that largest number of below poverty level people in human history is in India."

But, he said the potential could not be realised due to poor administration and lack of governance while red tapism still exists even after the 23 positions improvement in Ease of Doing Business ranking to 77.

"We have fundamentals and factors of production that are best in the world," he said, referring to the advantages that the country has in terms of its technological advancement, highest savings rate and the largest skilled manpower in the world.

Jalan said administration needs to work much more on public interest, rather the government's interest.

The current government had promised minimum government and maximum governance but the dichotomy still exists.

"Why can't politicians also be accountable not only in terms of what they do in Parliament but in terms of what they do on ground," Jalan, who was Rajya Sabha member between 2003 and 2009, said.

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