Business, Finance & Economics

Indian PM hits back at critics of slow pace of reforms


India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks during the Opening Ceremony for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Oct. 3, 2010 in New Delhi.


Ian Walton

India's prime minister hit back at critics of his slow progress on economic reforms Friday, saying sniping from prominent businessmen was hurting the global perception of India.

Singh told a meeting of businessmen that he was disappointed that they placed the blame for slowing growth on government policies.  He noted that the compulsions of reining in runaway inflation, as well as the Eurozone crisis and the slowdown in the U.S. were more obvious reasons that India's economic growth has slowed to its lowest clip in two years, the BBC reports.

That's not to say Singh didn't admit that India faces many domestic constraints as well, however. He said infrastructure and energy needed "greater attention", high inflation was "unacceptable" and the "sharp depreciation of the rupee" was a matter of concern, the BBC said.

But Singh said the complaints from India Inc. have added to the "uncertainty and have emboldened those who have no stake in our economic growth," the news channel said.

"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.

The fact remains, however, that despite a larger mandate, Singh has not made much progress on reforms designed to open the economy further to foreign investment and end costly government programs like the price controls on petroleum products -- prompting some to wonder if this is the end of "Manmohanomics."