Infrastructure key to development: Young MPs

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Development of infrastructure is critical to ensure development, said young parliamentarians who have come together to write a book on their vision for India.

The book, “India: The Future is Now”, a compilation of essays by 12 young parliamentarians on their vision for India, has been edited by Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor.

“We struggled at three percent growth for years, now we are at seven percent, which is good. But if we look at China… they have had double-digit growth all these years because they have made double-digit investment in infrastructure. The Chinese economy is three times our size,” said Baijayant “Jay” Panda, MP from Cuttack, Orissa, and a contributor to the book.

“Millions of Indians want a solution to their daily problems and they want it today. There is no black and white answer,” he said at a function to launch the book Tuesday night.

Some MPs said it was unfair to compare China and India.

“It is easy to develop China because you have to either agree or go to jail,” said Sanjay Jaiswal, MP from Paschim Champaran in Bihar.

He stressed on the need to improve healthcare by establishing medical colleges in every district.

“There has been good work in health with the National Rural Health Mission. If we have a medical college in every district, we can solve the health problem,” he said.

“But development of infrastructure is very important, without it we cannot thrive,” Jaiswal added.

Stressing on inclusive development, Palakkad (Kerala) MP M.B. Rajesh said: “Growth has to be exclusive, and we need to start with inclusive land reforms. Purchasing power of the common man needs to be enhanced.”

“The second step should be stepping up public investment in social sectors,” he said.

Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said: “The problem is not investment but the execution. Every crore allocated, does it translate in outcome? Its not just brick and mortar but the soul that we need.”

Kachchh (Gujarat) MP Poonam Veljibhai Jat said self-sufficiency in power generation can make the difference, while Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh) MP Anurag Thakur said “red tapism and policy paralysis was the problem which is keeping us from becoming a lucrative investment destination”.

Anurag Thakur, son of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, said he does not use his father’s surname but the family name.

“I am against dynastic politics. I never used my father’s surname. Many people in my party do not know I am his (Dhumal’s) son. I am proud of my family, but the essence of democracy is any politician wins the election only when people chose them,” he added.

“Many from political families lose elections, so it is about the choice of the voter. At the same time, being from a political family also raises people’s expectations with you,” said Hamdullah Sayeed, MP from Lakshadweep.

Sayeed is the son of former union minister P.M. Sayeed.

The book, published by Wisdom Tree, also has contributions from Ananthkumar Hegde, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kalikesh Singh Deo, M.B. Rajesh, Milind Deora, Nishikant Dubey, Poonamben Veljibhai Jat, Priya Dutt Roncon and Sanjay Jaiswal.

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