Indian economy performed best, inflation will be tackled: PM


New Delhi : India performed better than most global economies and will grow at 10 percent in the medium term with moderate inflation even as social inclusion would remain at the core of government agenda, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday.

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“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 during an 80-minute National Press Conference, predicting a 8.5-percent growth for this fiscal.

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

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

He also stressed on the need for a rapidly growing economy that 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 as 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 December, inflation will be brought town to 5-6 percent.”

The prime minister also said key constraints in the modernization of agriculture and in the expansion of infrastructure needed long term strategies, backed by stepped up investment.

“We have taken important steps in these areas, which will continue to receive the focused attention of the government,” he said.