Bottlenecks in the public delivery mechanism are a major factor hindering development, union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted on Wednesday. Having weathered the global economic crisis well, the major challenge now was to revert to a high GDP growth path of nine per cent, he said while addressing the 11th convocation ceremony of the Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University in Pune.
Mukherjee said weaknesses in government systems, structures and institutions at different levels of governance needed to be overcome for sustained and inclusive development. "If there is one factor that can hold us back in realising our potential as a modern nation, it is the bottleneck of our public delivery mechanisms. The system of governance, including economic governance, must work towards economic empowerment and make growth human-specific," he said.
"The first challenge before us is to quickly revert to the high GDP growth path of nine per cent and then find the resolve and the means to cross the double digit growth barrier. This calls for imparting a fresh momentum to the impressive recovery in growth witnessed in the past few months," he added.
Stating that the Indian economy was in a better position than it was a year ago, Mukherjee said the second challenge before it was to consolidate the recent gains and make the development process more inclusive.
On the education front, Mukherjee admitted the government lacked adequate resources to expand higher education on its own, making it necessary for private players to assume larger roles in the future. ''With the limited resources that the government has, it would not be possible for the government alone to achieve the target of increasing gross enrolment ratio up to 30 per cent. It would, therefore, be necessary to promote private initiative in higher education further,'' he said.
The minister expressed disappointment at the fact that the general enrolment in higher education remained ''much lower than expected''. The government would continue to work towards structural transformation in the education sector to ensure expansion, as it considered education as not only a vehicle of growth but also an instrument to ensure social justice.
Mukherjee urged for empowerment of youth through skill development. ''The prime minister's council on national skill development aims at creating 50 crore skilled persons by 2022. A beginning has been made with the approval of three projects by National Skill Development Corporation, a public and private sector partnership initiative to create 10 lakh persons with skilled manpower at the rate of one lakh per annum,'' he said.