Inflation, terror twin challenges, says Manmohan

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:40 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said controlling inflation and improving the internal security situation were the twin challenges before his government as it goes into the fifth and final year of its term. “So far, the reports of the rabi crops are good and the predictions of a good monsoon give us hope and confidence that the steps we have taken so far will enable us to return to a regime of moderate inflation in 8-10 weeks,” Manmohan Singh said.

“Our government has made determined efforts to accelerate the pace of development while maintaining reasonable price stability. Control of inflation has been a priority concern,” he emphasised.

The prime minister was speaking at the fourth anniversary dinner hosted by his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at his residence here.

The UPA government has been facing severe criticism for rising food grain prices and a series of terror attacks in parts of the country.

“The sharp escalation in global prices, the price of steel and the price of food crops… has impacted our domestic economy. The government has taken several measures to deal with this challenge,” said the prime minister who had earlier asked the opposition not to “play politics” on the price rise.

Manmohan Singh countered the opposition allegations that the UPA was soft on terror.

“We will not hesitate to take resolute and firm action against such forces wherever necessary and will work with state governments to counter these threats,” he said.

The prime minister reiterated: “The UPA government has taken firm measures to improve the overall internal security situation and it will remain ever vigilant against any threats to the unity and integrity of our sacred republic.”

Highlighting his government’s focus on education, health and poverty alleviation schemes, Manmohan Singh said: “Indian economy is on a growth trajectory, which can keep it growing at 8-9 percent per annum. At this rate, we will be able to rid our nation of chronic poverty, ignorance and disease which have been the fate of millions of our countrymen for centuries.”

The government’s flagship programme, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, found a special mention in the prime minister’s speech.

On education, Manmohan Singh said his government was giving special emphasis to education of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minority communities and women.

“The UPA government has worked hard to make our growth process socially inclusive and regionally balanced,” said Manmohan Singh.

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