India to achieve 10 per cent growth rate: PM

December 19th, 2007 - 5:27 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today said that growth rate of the country is likely to rise to 10 per cent by 2012.
Addressing a meeting of the National Development Committee (NDC) here, Dr. Singh said that with the correct set of policies and dedicated effort by both the Central and State Governments, the country will not only be able to maintain the momentum of high growth into the near future but may be able to raise it to 10 per cent.
This is what the XI Plan attempts to do over the next five years, he added.
The meeting is being held here to consider Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) document.
Dr. Singh expressed satisfaction over the growth and development that took place during the Xth Five Year Plan and said it has placed India’s economy on a high growth path.
“As we enter the XIth Plan, the prospect on the growth front is encouraging. Growth has averaged close to nine per cent per annum in the last three years of the Xth Plan, thus more than making up for a slow start in the first two years. Such a good growth performance is unprecedented and leads us to wonder whether we have actually scaled another invisible barrier and placed our economy on a high growth path,” he said.
The Prime Minister added that the high growth has been possible because of the country’s historically high savings and investment rates.
Stressing upon the inclusive growth process, Dr. Singh expressed his concern over inter-regional disparity and urban-rural disparity. He said that often the urban-rural disparity becomes the cause for inter-regional disparity.
“We need to ensure that the quality of education provided in our rural areas, the health service in our rural areas and the infrastructure in rural areas - are all of the same quality and standard as those available in the urban areas. This is absolutely essential if we have to mitigate impoverishment and large scale migration from rural areas,” he said.
Sounding a note of caution on the US sub-prime crisis, Dr. Singh said, “There are some clouds on global financial markets following the sub-prime lending crisis…We cannot be fully immune to international developments.”
Drawing attention to the impending problem of food security, Dr. Singh said that the next decade is going to be one in which our food security will be under stress.
Global trends in food production and prices and our own patterns of consumption are going to put increasing pressure on both the availability and prices of basic food items, he said. In order to manage these pressures, Dr. Singh said, “We need to ensure that the agriculture sector not only performs as per our expectations but also that our food planning adjusts to the emerging market realities.” At the same time, the Prime Minister added, We need to revisit our foodgrains procurement strategies in the short-term.
We probably need to enhance our buffer stocks of foodgrains and also consider buffer stocks for pulses and edible oils. We also need to ensure that subsidized foodgrains are targeted at only the needy and the poor and those leakages and misdirected subsidies are stopped, he said.
Dr. Singh said with increased globalisation, the country’s economy accounts for almost 40 per cent of the GDP and, hence, India cannot remain unaffected by global developments.
“This is not to say that one must be pessimistic and less ambitious in our growth targets. It only implies that we need to redouble our efforts to maintain the domestic drivers of growth and ensure that policy facilitates even faster growth”, he added.
The Prime Minister also said that the nation must work purposefully to realise the socio-economic transformation that the XIth Five Year Plan seeks to achieve.
Dr. Singh said that the 11th Plan envisages a Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of Rs 14 lakh crore, which is double the size earmarked in the previous plan.
The Plan envisages an impressive increase in total Plan expenditure of the Centre and States taken together from 9.4 per cent of the GDP in the X Plan to 13.5 per cent of GDP in the XI Plan, he said.
Dr. Singh also said that the Plan hopes to raise the total annual investment in infrastructure from five per cent of GDP to nine per cent.
Talking about agriculture sector, he said that several steps have been taken to restore momentum to this sector.
Besides launching of several programmes like the Bharat Nirman programme, the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, he said, We have achieved a three-fold increase in agricultural credit from banks in the past three years and we are determined to do more to ensure that our farmers have access to credit at reasonable rates.
Based on the discussions in the special NDC meeting on agriculture, he said, We launched the National Food Security Mission to increase production of rice, wheat and pulses. This programme will produce an additional 20 million tonnes of foodgrain production over the XI Plan.
We hope that we will be able to sustain the desired growth rate of four per cent in agriculture, he added.
Speaking on education sector, Dr. Singh said that the XI Plan attempts to bring about a massive transformation in this area through many new initiatives.
He said that the Plan also proposes a major expansion in the health sector. It will effectively double expenditure in health for the Centre and the States from one percent of GDP in the base year to two per cent of GDP by the end of the Plan.
The Prime Minister further added that the Plan lays special emphasis on the problems of minorities, SCs and STs.
It has specific, focused programmes, both for skill development and education and also for improving the basic infrastructure in areas inhabited predominantly by them, he added.
He also called upon the states to give particular attention to areas such as better targeting of subsidies and cutting down losses in the power sector.
“To overcome the power shortage that plagues almost all states and to ensure adequate power for a rapidly growing economy, we need to create an environment that will attract investments in power by public and private sectors,” the Prime Minister said.
The efforts, Dr. Singh added, must be to bring down transmission losses to 15 per cent in two years and “provide quality power at appropriate prices, taking into consideration the needs of consumers and health of electricity agencies.” (ANI)

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