Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today sought the nation's support to carry on economic reforms that, he said, would help safeguard the country's long-term interests even as the ruling coalition partner and political adversaries opposed the government's decision to open retail trade to foreign direct investment and allow FDI in airlines, broadcasting services and power trading exchanges.
He also defended the government's decision to increase the price of diesel and restrict supply of subsidised LPG to domestic consumers.
Addressing the nation today, the prime minister said while no government likes to impose burdens on the common man, the UPA government at the centre has been forced to take some hard decisions. But, these, he said, were also aimed at protecting the interests of `am admi' (the common man)
"The government has taken some hard decisions in the interests of the nation. You have the right to know why we took this decision," he said.
He said it is the responsibility of the government to defend the national interest, and protect the long-term future of its people. And, for this, the government has to ensure that the economy grows rapidly, and that this generates enough productive jobs for the youth of the country, he said.
Rapid growth is also necessary to raise the revenues needed to finance programmes in education, health care, housing and rural employment, he added.
"The government's role is to take steps for the welfare of the people, so that education, health and food securities are taken care of," the PM said.