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`Differences will be resolved'

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JULY 17. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, today said that differences between the Government and its supporting parties on proposals to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) limits in telecom, insurance and civil aviation would be resolved through dialogue.

He expressed the confidence that the Government would have a ``smooth sailing'' tenure. ``We will resolve all issues through the process of dialogue,'' Dr. Singh told the media at an oath-taking function for the non-Ministerial members of the Planning Commission.

To a question on opposition from the Left parties to the budget proposal for increasing the FDI limits in the three sectors, the Prime Minister said: ``Let me say we are all united and have to work together. I think there will always be problems but I am very confident that we will have a smooth sailing in the end.''

Asked about the role and relevance of the Planning Commission in the new regime, Dr. Singh said the Commission was a think-tank and a link between the Centre and the States. ``The importance of [the] Planning Commission in the federal structure that India has can hardly be over-emphasised. We want to strengthen the Commission.''

Soon after the oath-taking ceremony, Dr. Singh chaired the first meeting of the Commission in his capacity as its Chairman. He asked the members to focus on implementing the Common Minimum Programme.

Talking to the media after the meeting, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said the Prime Minister was concerned about the delivery system and had directed the Commission that in addition to providing additional resources, it should also look at the question of improving the efficiency of the system.

On the allocation of additional Rs. 10,000 crores earmarked in the budget, Mr. Ahluwalia said ``we are working on that very hard. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks' time, we will have the answer.''

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