M A I N   N E W S

Patil swears by N-deal
T. R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25
Affirming that the Congress-led UPA government’s strategy of inclusive growth has contributed to the acceleration of economic growth, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil hoped that the civil nuclear cooperation with the USA and other friendly countries will become possible and the dialogue process with Pakistan will be resumed when conditions permit.

“We are committed to peace, friendship and good neighbourly relations with Pakistan. A stable and prosperous Pakistan at peace with itself is in the interests of our entire region. The dialogue process with Pakistan aimed at building mutual confidence and resolving outstanding issues, is premised on an atmosphere free from terror and violence,” Patil stressed addressing the MPs of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha here today seeking to set the tone for the Budget session of Parliament.

Listing the government’s achievements in various spheres and the priorities at hand with barely 15 months left for the general elections, the President observed that for the first time in history the Indian economy had grown at close to 9 per cent per annum for four years in a row. The high investment rate of over 35 per cent of the GDP and savings rate of more than 34 per cent of the GDP symbolises a new dynamism in the economy. She expressed confidence that the “creativity, enterprise and hard work of our young people will be able to sustain these high rates in the years to come.”

She made it clear that the government would continue to sustain growth while keeping the prices under check coupled with trying to “insulate the Indian consumer from the global inflationary trends.” Though the world crude oil prices have reached an all time high of $100 a barrel, yet the government has managed to moderate the impact on the domestic consumer.

The Eleventh Five Year Plan has set a target of 9 per cent GDP for the country as a whole to be achieved by providing equality of opportunity for quality education, employment and enterprise besides freeing people from the burden of ill health and eliminating discrimination. The Plan hopes to raise the total annual investment in infrastructure from 5 per cent to 9 per cent. The government has been paying special attention to the welfare of farmers and has reversed the decline in public investment in agriculture. The combined resources for agriculture, irrigation and water resources, including major flood management programme, will go up from Rs 46,131 crore in the 10th Plan to Rs 1,38,548 crore in the 11th Plan.

Patil touched upon the architecture of inclusive growth being consolidated in the 11th Five Year Plan encompassing empowering Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, strengthening Panchayati Raj institutions, the Prime Minister’s new 15-Point programme, empowering women through female literacy, ensuring enforcement of children’s rights, the National Rural Health Mission as well as the ambitious Bharat Nirman programme, infrastructure development, the civil aviation sector witnessing an unprecedented boom, the telecom sector emerging as the fastest growing in the world and the e-governance plan.

“India is on the move. There is an air of optimism among our youth and of expectation among the less privileged sections of society. The challenge before us is to sustain the development process in the face of external and internal threats. The people of India have the potential to fuel the engine of global growth,” noted the President.

Patil spoke about pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to ensure peace, normalcy and development in Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister’s reconstruction plan is being implemented vigorously with focus on improving connectivity and infrastructure, including power and generating employment. As part of this plan a housing project for Kashmiri Migrants is under implementation in the state. The government is working on a holistic approach aimed at confidence building among all sections of society, easier travel across the Line of Control, better governance and meeting the aspirations of the people of J and K.

Drawing attention to the initiatives in the North Eastern region, it has been decided to upgrade 18 airports. The North Eastern Council has taken the initiative to establish a dedicated airline for the region. Special Accelerated roads development programme in the North East with a funding of Rs 43,000 crore has been formulated. A Trans-Arunachal Pradesh highway will be constructed. A comprehensive plan for improving the availability of power in the region is in the making. New initiatives in education, include setting up of new universities and other institutions of national importance.



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