India will overcome crisis, deliver 8 percent growth: PM (Roundup)

November 21st, 2008 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) India cannot pretend to be insulated from the global financial crisis and will overcome the same, as no effort will be spared to ensure an 8 percent economic growth and promote development and entrepreneurship, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted here Friday.He also sought to send out a message to the world that developing economies like India had both a stake and role to play in ensuring an end to the global crisis and cannot be made to pay for the “profligacy of the rich”.

“The global economy today is going through choppy waters. However, we can and will survive this crisis and emerge stronger if we have the imagination and sense of unity to work together,” the prime minister said.

“Despite the global adversity and crisis, we have the ability and the capacity to sustain a eight percent growth rate,” he told a distinguished audience that he addressed at the start of the two-day Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at the packed Durbar Hall of Taj Palace Hotel.

“No instrument of public policy will be spared - fiscal, monetary, exchange rate or public investment will all be deployed to ensure an environment conducive to growth and entrepreneurship.”

The prime minister also had a message to send out to the world, especially after attending the G20 Summit on the financial crisis in Washington at the invitation of US President George W. Bush.

“G20 was like Hamlet without prince of Denmark,” he said to laughter, using a Shakespearian analogy to state how president-elect Barack Obama was not present at the crucial meeting to decide future of the world economy and its financial architecture.

But he said the leaders were assured by the outgoing president that the incoming Obama administration was fully on board regarding the summit’s deliberations.

The prime minister also said that at the G20 Summit he urged world leaders “to recognise the inter-dependencies and our stake in it.

“We need a global safety net so that the poor of the world do not pay a price for the profligacy of the rich, and the delinquency of a few,” he said.

“Global problems require global solutions. This is the most important lesson of the past century for the next. But global institutions of governance must be made more inclusive and representative. The voice of the developing world must be heard in the high councils of global decision-making.”

The prime minister, who also gave a personal touch to his speech by recalling how the country had made him and helped him as young boy from a dusty village, said his dream was to see every citizen of India educated and empowered.

“My greatest ambition for the coming century is to see a fully educated India. The light of knowledge must touch every child and empower every citizen. I have this dream for my people because that was my dream as a young boy in a distant village,” the prime minister said.

“I stand before you today because the light of knowledge has empowered me. I cannot think of any other reason. Like millions of Indians I come from a family of modest means. I lived in a dusty village with no doctor, no school, no electricity, no drinking water.,” he said.

“It was the burning desire to learn, to be educated, that has brought me here to these glittering halls from that village without hope. It was scholarship and fair selection that educated me. It was a free society and a land of opportunity that employed me. My dreams for myself have been realized in my lifetime because my country made me.

The prime minister said India’s success in transforming the lives of its people as a liberal and plural democracy, and as a free society and economy, provided hope for the millions around the world. “We may have paid a price in terms of economic growth and efficiency, but we have gained as a free people,” he said.

“Let us never belittle our achievements nor our ambitions in this regard, and certainly not our struggle.”

The prime minister said extremism both in economic and political matters was not good for any nation and said his call for moderation was not a rejection of boundless ambition.

“In some areas of human conduct, such ambition is a necessary part of progress,” he said, listing out some examples like India’s moon mission last week and the recognition by the global community that his country was a nuclear power.

“Our achievement today mocks the cynicism of the non-believers. Such ambition must be commended. It is the kind of ambition that spurs progress and widens human imagination,” he said.

He said he would like to see similar ambition in ridding the country of poverty, ignorance, disease, liberating the minds of people from the deadweight of prejudice, educating every child and making women equal partners in progress.

“No goal is impossible, no hurdle is insurmountable. But if we set our sights low, no achievement is laudable. While celebrating our achievement in space, let us reflect on its lessons for us on Earth.”

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