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India targets 10 percent near-term growth, 5 percent inflation: PM

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Putting inclusive growth and taming price rise on top of United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) agenda, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday set a medium-term target of 10 percent annual economic expansion for India with moderate inflation.

‘The agenda for our second term seeks to strengthen a pro-people policies and programmes initiated by our government since 2004,’ the prime minister said in his opening remarks to journalists, predicting a 8.5-percent growth for this fiscal.

This was the first formal press meet to mark his second term as the prime minister of the year-old United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and he answered questions from the national and international media at the Vigyan Bhavan convention centre.

The previous one during his first term, which the Prime Minister’s Office described as his first national press conference, was organised Sep 4, 2004 at the same venue.

According to the Oxford-Cambridge educated economist-prime minister, social and economic uplift of the mebers of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women will continue to receive priority attention in our plans.

He stressed on the need for a rapidly growing economy, which generates productive employment and resources to finance the government’s ‘ambitious’ social and economic agenda.

‘Our medium term target is to achieve a growth rate of 10 percent per annum. I am convinced that given our savings and investments rate this is an achievable target,’ he said.

Underlining that the Indian economy had done well in the wake of global recession, the prime minister said his government’s first priority was to protect the country’s economy from the global slowdown and ensure momentum of inclusive growth is not interrupted.

‘Our annual growth rate had averaged nine percent for four years before the crisis. It reduced to 6.5 percent in 2008-09 and recovered to 7.2 percent in 2009-10. We expect 8.5 percent in this financial year,’ he said.

‘This is widely regarded s one of the best performances among the larger economies of the world.’

Referring to high inflation, the prime minister said as the result of steps taken by his government, there were signs of prices showing a moderation. He said the situation was being closely monitor and urged state governments, too, to chip in.

‘Prices continue to be a matter of deep concern. The government has attached the highest priority to containing inflation so that there is no distress to the common man,’ the prime minister said.

‘It is true inflation is a problem and affecting people. I can assure that by Decembe, inflation will be brought town to 5-6 percent.’

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