Indian PM commits to reforms

NEW DELHI, March 26, 2011 (AFP) – India’s prime minister has reaffirmed his Congress-led government’s commitment to economic reforms as the administration battles a host of corruption scandals. Economic liberalisation had “ended old opportunities for corruption and favouritism… but human ingenuity and the desire to make a quick buck are such that the greedy are able to tap into new sources of corruption”, Singh said. The new thrust on reforms is seen by analysts as an attempt by the government to re-energise its legislative programme and take away the focus from corruption storm.

“I confirm our commitment to new wave of reforms,” Singh, widely credited with opening up India’s economy in 1991 while finance minister, said in a speech late Friday.

He added that he welcomed the “national focus on corruption because it will, as it already has to an extent, generate public pressure in favour of more reform”.

The government has been hit by a slew of corruption scandals, ranging from a cash-for-votes controversy and the cut-price sale of telecoms licences to graft surrounding last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Singh’s own “Mr Clean” reputation has been tainted by the scandals,