M A I N   N E W S

Optimistic PM pegs growth at 8.5 pc
Releases 67-page UPA-II report card
Says Naxalism, price rise remain top challenges
Reiterates govt’s commitment to welfare of aam aadmi
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, June 1
Presenting the UPA Government’s “report to the people”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today praised the ruling combine for its management of the unprecedented global financial crisis and severe drought that the country faced last year but also acknowledged that rising prices and Naxalism remain a big challenge.

While detailing the government’s achievements over the past one year, the PM said India had weathered last year’s economic downturn better than many other world economies as a result of which the effect on the coutry’s growth momentum had been minimised.

“In the current financial year, the economy is expected to grow at 8.5 per cent. This is one of the best performances in the world and reflects the strong fundamentals which we have built over several years,” he underlined.

He said India recorded 7.4 per cent growth in 2009-10, which was more than the 7.2 per cent projected earlier. Economic growth had slipped to 6.7 per cent in 2008-09, after four straight years of average nine per cent expansion.

At the same time, the PM took note of the problems faced by the government, admitting that there are uncertainties ahead and that he looked to the year ahead with “cautious optimism”.

The PM’s cautious approach today was in keeping with the overall tone and tenor of the programme held at his official residence for the presentation of the UPA-II Government’s report to the people at its first anniversary.

The release of the 67-page report, highlighting the government’s achievements, was originally planned for May 22, the day the UPA-II Government completed one year in office, but it was called off because of the Mangalore air crash. The government, however, decided to keep the release function a low-key affair as the air tragedy was followed by the West Bengal train disaster.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the PM unveiled the report card jointly in the presence of senior UPA ministers and allies. The customary dinner hosted by the PM was not held and the media presence was limited only to camerapersons.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister identified price rise as one of the major problems faced by the his government but assured the people that he would monitor the situation and take necessary corrective measures to rein in inflation.

He referred to the numerous measures already taken by government taken in this regard and remained hopeful that these efforts would show results. “I am happy that prices have shown a moderating trend in recent weeks. I am hopeful that this trend will continue,” he added.

The Prime Minister also expressed his government's determination to fight terrorism and the scourge of communalism and “political extremism”. As far as the challenge of Naxalism is concerned, the Prime Minister reiterated the government’s two-pronged policy, which seeks to address the genuine developmental concerns of the people at the grassroots while firmly enforcing the writ of the state.

“We will ensure that this great, liberal and plural nation of ours is not weakened by hatred and bigotry,” Singh asserted.

Emphasising that the UPA Government remains committed to inclusive growth and the welfare of the aam aadmi, Singh pointed to various initiatives which the government has taken for economic growth, social uplift of people and empowerment of women and children. Such efforts, according to him, will provide an “effective, purposeful and responsive” government.





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