Accusing the opposition of spreading misinformation regarding policy initiatives taken by the UPA, a combative Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said reform measures, including foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, will benefit the common man and create more jobs.
Addressing a Congress rally at the Ramlila Maidan, he said the Congress and the government were committed to create a prosperous India, but the people have to travel a long distance to achieve that goal.
"If we want to bring some changes in our policies for the benefit of the country, we will definitely do so," he said. Defending the opening up of multi-brand retail to foreign investment, he said suggestions that this will harm farmers were "wrong".
The "difference" between Congress and those opposing them was that his party and the government wanted to create a change in the society, he said.
"We have to take difficult decisions to achieve this... Those opposing us will be proved wrong. Eight crore people have benefited from the MNREGA. Twelve crore children have benefited from mid-day meal programme. Prosperity should reach the common man.
"We need economic reforms to create more jobs... The people are being misled about recent government decisions... We have done a lot of work in the last eight years," Singh said.
Elaborating on his defence of FDI, he said the Congress and the government believe that FDI in retail is in the interest of farmers.
"All will be benefited. Farmers will get the right price for their produce. New employment opportunities will emerge. It is wrong that FDI in retail will affect farmers. Such a suggestion is aimed at misleading the country," he said.
Singh dismissed opposition suggestions that FDI will take jobs away from people.
"We want FDI in retail primarily in bigger cities. We have seen other countries progressing after introduction of FDI in retail," he said.
Referring to economic reforms initiated in 1991 when he was finance minister, Singh said this is not the first time that the country has brought in foreign investment.
"We have done it before and today we are reaping its benefits," he said.
On oil prices, the Prime Minister said India imports 80 per cent of the petroleum products.
"We have taken some steps on prices of petroleum products. We have not increased kerosene prices. This decision is for the betterment of the people. We want our farmers to be happy and prosperous," he said.