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Marxism insights must guide development policy design: PM

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The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, listening to the Chairman of the Prajasakti Sahitee Samastha, Mr Koratala Satyanarayana , at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Prajasakti in Hyderabad on Sunday. Others (from left): The Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, Mr N. Ram; the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy; the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy; the Union Minister for Coal & Mines, Mr Dasari Narayana Rao; and the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Mr Sitaram Yechury . P. V. Sivakumar
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, listening to the Chairman of the Prajasakti Sahitee Samastha, Mr Koratala Satyanarayana , at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Prajasakti in Hyderabad on Sunday. Others (from left): The Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, Mr N. Ram; the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy; the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy; the Union Minister for Coal & Mines, Mr Dasari Narayana Rao; and the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Mr Sitaram Yechury . P. V. Sivakumar

Our Bureau

Hyderabad, Aug 21

CALLING himself a liberal in social philosophy, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today said Marxism captures two very important aspects for the progress of a nation.

Firstly, it attaches great importance to sustained and rapid accumulation of capital, which is an absolute must to tackle the problems of mass poverty in the framework of a rapidly expanding economy.

Secondly, its commitment to social justice, particularly to ensure that the fruits of growth are shared equitably, and the burden of socio-economic change is not placed disproportionately on the shoulders of those who do not have the necessary ability to bear it.

These insights of Marxism must guide any development policy design, the Prime Minister said. Dr Singh chose the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telugu daily Prajasakthi, a CPI (M) party publication, to give his views.

Referring to the extremist violence, Dr Singh said be it the Hurriyat in Kashmir, the ULFA in Assam or the Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh, "I believe there is no grievance that cannot be redressed through democratic means and through dialogue."

Every political group that claims to represent the interests of the people, or of a section, must test its popularity at the hustings, in the polling booth. "Ask the people to vote and support, use the media to convey your views, the legislature to convert them into policies. In a democracy, the power of the people flows through the ballot box, not the barrel of the gun," Dr Singh reminded them.

In the same breath, the PM showed his hard stand when he said, "No civilized society can tolerate violence and extremism. No one has the right to take the law into their own hands. No society can pardon those who kill innocent people. Faced with such terror tactics, the Government will have no other option than to fight such groups and their ideology of hatred".

Quoting Amartya Sen's new book The Argumentative Indian, the PM said the media must imbibe scepticism and pluralism, which Prof Sen described so eloquently as the two important defining elements of our national culture. Skepticism is healthy as long as it does not breed cynicism, but contributes to informed debate. Pluralism is intrinsically valuable because it breeds creativity by creating space for a contest of ideas and opinions, Dr Singh expanded.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, lauded the contributions of Prajasakthi and said the constant watch on rural and developmental issues by the media would contribute to the healthy growth of the State and economy.

Mr N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of the Hindu, released the Souvenir brought out by the Newspaper. Mr K. Satyanarayana, Chairman, Prajasakthi Sahitee Samstha gave an overview of the growth of the publication.

The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy, in his address said the Right to Information will fortify journalists to fight harder the corruption which is eating into the country's vitals.

"Catch the big fish", he told the large gathering of media and important people of the city.

Mr Reddy however, quickly added that trivialisation, glamourisation and sensationalisation are three worrying trends in the media. While volumes are going up, values are not. Even the language press, which has grown in numbers, reach and power, is imitating the mainstream press, he felt.

The Polit Bureau Member of the CPI(M), Mr Sitaram Yechury, in his address said the Centre has been able to bring to focus employment guarantee bill, public sector privatisation and rural development issues onto centre-stage, away from trivial issues that dominated the past six years. Therefore, the media also should focus on people's issues more than trivial to propel the country's development process.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 22, 2005)
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