Reforms are our priority number one: PM

August 20th, 2011 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, August 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said the next phase of economic reforms will be his priority number one despite difficulties, and expressed confidence that political consensus will be reached for a larger goal of 9 percent growth.

“I think second generation reforms are essential, but they are also a lot more difficult. They require a broad-based national consensus,” the prime minister told a select group of journalists after chairing a meeting of the full Planning Commission.

“The lack of effective national consensus on some of these issues is a problem, and, therefore, the effort has to be to create a climate of opinion whereby all political parties would unite in national interest to push forward the reforms agenda.”

According to the prime minister, when the reforms process was launched in 1991, when he was finance minister, there was lot of opposition both from the right and the Left, but subsequently they all reconciled the differences.

“I think in the last 20 years they have all kept to the path outlined by us in 1991-95. It is our hope we should generate a broad climate in which all political parties can unite to push forward an agenda which is in broad national interest,” he said.

“That will be our priority number one — to push the reform process forward.”

The prime minister said the Planning Commission has decided it would be prudent to set a growth target that ensures the objective of sustained and inclusive growth, taking into consideration the situation within and outside the country.

“Taking all these factors into account, we will be working on a growth rate of 9 percent per annum. But we will also keep open the possibility of raising the growth rate if the domestic and international situation improves, to 9.2 percent.”

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