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PM for quick return to 8-9% growth
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, July 6
Complimenting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for presenting a “rural development oriented” budget, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said his government was working towards attaining 7 per cent growth this year.

Talking to reporters at Parliament House soon after the budget proposals were announced in the Lok Sabha, he said, “A 7% growth rate this year is an achievable target but it’s not good enough for the medium term - we must move towards a growth path of 8% to 9%.’’

A visibly pleased PM, who had given important suggestions to Mukherjee on many of his key budget proposals, said the latter had done a commendable job in reconciling the economy’s short-term requirements to provide a stimulus to the growth process and simultaneously ensure the country “recaptured the rhythm of the growth process” despite recessionary tendencies in the global economy.

On the increased outlay for the UPA’s flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP), he said: “It is a measure of our commitment to the well-being of the poorer sections of our community.’’

Singh also spoke about the higher outlay for the urban mission. “The urban mission focuses on the infrastructure needs of our cities. We have identified 60 cities…probably we need to relook at the number in due course of time. Simultaneously the emphasis on basic amenities for the poorer sections and the commitment to rid India of slums have also been taken into account.’’

On the security aspect, the PM regretted the country did not have an adequate number of policemen. “The country’s security forces need our understanding and support. We’ll do all that is necessary to modernise both the security and intelligence services. Law and order is a prerequisite task for development, hence the security forces’ requirements as well as modernisation of our police force and intelligence agencies is a must.’’

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