Vayalar Ravi flays media for criticizing PM


New Delhi : Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has strongly criticized sections of the media for their criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent speech in which he had called upon corporate India to curb fat salaries for top executives and avoid conspicuous consumption.

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"I was shocked to see the media criticizing the prime minister on his speech," Ravi, speaking at a function Monday to launch a new government trust to help overseas Indians invest in India, said.

At the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here Thursday, the prime minister had presented a 10-point social charter in which he called upon India, Inc. to be moderate in salaries as, unless matched by rising income levels across the country as this would lead to social unrest. He had also criticized the electronic media for beaming the lavish weddings of the wealthy to the homes of the poor, stating that this was "an area of great concern".

Following the speech, sections of the media criticized the prime minister expressing surprise that the very person who has been hailing India's growth story was now speaking about austerity measures within the industry.

At Monday's function, jointly organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and CII, Ravi said, "This is no way to criticize the Prime Minister. Of course, he wants investment inflow into the country to increase.

"But the Prime Minister is expected to speak for the poor of the country. His expectations from the industry are fully justified," he said.

"You cannot have people seeking water to water their gardens while there are people in the country who do not have water to even drink," he added.