Rahul Gandhi seeks industry intervention for inclusive growth

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has called upon the business community to go for ''smart interventions'' that would lead to inclusive growth and qualitative changes in the life of the common man.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi''India has an unstoppable tide of human aspirations'' and a joint effort by the government, industry and the civil society is needed ''to create structures that address the aspirational paradigms of the common man,'' Gandhi told the CII's annual general meeting and national conference in New Delhi today.

Addressing a business congregation for the first time after taking over as Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi said industry should be intensely involved in infrastructural development, education, and the overall growth process, which is a win-win situation for everybody.

''Harmony and development pre-supposes development of all and exclusion of none. Dalits, minorities, deprived people, destitute and women are all important links in our societal structure and we have to reach out to them with compassion and empathy'', he said.

Gandhi minced no words while making it clear that the current milieu of political environment was elitist. ''At present, governance is dependent on a few elected representatives and that too MPs and MLAs. The majority of the peoples' leaders like `pradhans' of gram panchayats are denied any say in the political process that goes into decision-making. This is very frustrating'', he said.

Responding to a question on the complex centre-state relations, Gandhi, said the real issue was not between the centre and state, but between people whose voices are being heard and of those who have been denied of any role in the political process.

''A generational shift has to take place in our complex social and political system to address creatively the grass-roots problem to find solutions to them. If you act on the suggestions of a few, one can go on expecting things to be done, but if you listen to our 1.2 billion people, we can get things done immediately. That is the importance of devolution of power'', he added. 

He said most political parties are bereft of connectivity with the masses. ''This is what I am trying to change,'' he said.

He said the problems that India faces are complex and there were no straight-jacket solutions to that. ''It is partly due to our political system which is deep-rooted into democratic ideals and values. Every voice has to be listened and responded to, unlike in countries like China, where sometimes the personal views and perceptions get drowned in the political apparatus. I am getting grooved into that mode gradually,'' he added.

Gandhi said political life should not be geared to personal gains, but rather should be a mission aimed at meeting the aspirations of the masses.

''Many people predict the probability of me becoming the prime minister, when will I get married etc. But these are all irrelevant issues and what we should focus is on finding voice for a billion people. We have to channelise our attention to more important issues like corruption, under-development and the inept political structures'', he lamented.

Earlier, welcoming Gandhi, CII president Adi Godrej said the industry was looking forward to have a pro-active policy initiatives from the government in areas like goods and services tax (GST), fast-tracking large infrastructure projects, balanced land acquisition policy etc. 

He also drew the attention of Gandhi to the 'Young Indians', initiative of the CII, which aims at grooming the youth to make them employable and self-occupied. He also pledged support to the massive youth awakening programmes undertaken at Gandhi's guidance. 

S Gopalakrishnan, president-designate of CII, in his address said that as a partner in progress, CII would continue to lend support to the nation-building task.