End policy paralysis: India Inc to government

Joining the growing chorus of protests from industrialists and business leaders about lack of economic reforms and policy stasis, Mukesh Ambani, chairman, Reliance Industries, on Sunday said both the central and state governments need to align and move a lot faster.

''The Indian government needs to work at a faster pace,'' said Ambani while addressing the opening session of the India Eeconomic Summit of the World Economic Forum in Mumbai. ''Just because we live in a democracy doesn't mean that we should feel paralysed.''

Ambani – who has been described by Forbes magazine as ''the world's richest Indian'' with a net worth of $22.6 billion – said in today's world of aspiration, people want everything to happen now. Democracy, he noted, does not have to be an excuse for slower decision-making.

''There is a need for a shift in governance from 20th century to 21st century decision-making,'' said Ambani. ''We need to get a minimum agreement in terms of saying that at the end of the day we are there working for all people and we have to have a pathway to move into the 21st century governance so that the rules are redefined and we can meet the aspirations of the millions of our young people,'' he added.

Expressing fears about policy paralysis due to political constraints, Ambani said one should not justify it by saying that this was the price one paid for democracy. ''We shouldn't put a thing by saying that because the institutions of democracy are there, we will be paralysed. And because there is an opposition and a party in power, we would do nothing. That's what worries me.''

The Reliance Industries chairman joins a growing number of top business leaders who have been expressing concerns about the lack of economic reforms and paralysis in decision-making. Last month, a group of 14 businessmen wrote an open letter – the second in nine months – to the prime minister, expressing concerns that the corruption scams could lead to a ''governance deficit.''