I look at year ahead with cautious optimism: PM

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said even though the Indian economy’s performance was among the best in the world, he looked at the year ahead with ‘cautious optimism’ as concerns remained over rising prices.

‘In the current financial year, the economy is expected to grow at 8.5 percent,’ the prime minister said in his remarks while releasing the report card on the first year of the second tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

‘This is one of the best performances in the world and reflects the strong fundamentals which we have built over several years. There are uncertainties on the horizon, but on the whole, I look to the year ahead with cautious optimism,’ he said.

‘One of the major problems that we face at present is the pressure on prices. This is to a large extent the aftermath of the drought, but it needs firm action.’

The prime minister, who was sworn in for the second term May 22, 2009, then released the document titled ‘Report to the People’ in the presence of his council of ministers and top leaders of the alliance, sans any celebrations.

Others at the event included UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Lok Sabha and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

The report was originally scheduled for release May 22, along with a diner for all constituents of the alliance, but was deferred due to the Air India Express air crash at Mangalore the same morning, which claimed 158 lives.

The prime minister said in the second term, his government would carry forward the pro-people policies and programmes initiated by the government since 2004.

‘We will also seek new frontiers and new directions that would strengthen our social and economic foundations.’

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