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Oct 20, 2012, 08.31 AM IST
Citing uncertainty in global economic scenario, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the government's endeavour to achieve 8 per cent annual growth will not be an easy task, even though it is not unattainable.
At the Combined Commanders' Conference here, Singh said India needs an aggregate growth rate of 8 per cent per annum to create new job opportunities for more than 10 million persons who are going to enter the labour force each year.
"This is not going to be an easy task, given the international economic environment. However, it is not unattainable if we make determined efforts to increase our investment rate to 37-38 per cent as was the case three years ago," Singh said.
While India has confronted persistent challenges on the external front, Singh said the global economic recovery has failed to materialise.
"The continuing uncertainty and weaknesses in the Eurozone economies have hobbled the pace of growth, including in Asian economies. Inevitably, India too has had to deal with the fallout of slowing growth, falling exports and expanding deficits," the Prime Minister said.
India's economic growth slowed to a 5.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2012-13 from 8 per cent in the year-ago period. While exports are on decline since May (till August), the fiscal deficit has touched 66 per cent of the budgeted Rs 4.12 lakh crore in first five months of the financial year.
The Prime Minister stressed on the need to create an environment conducive for increased investment and savings rates, paying particular attention to investment in infrastructure sectors.
Singh further said, "as India grows, so will the responsibilities associated with protecting our new-found equities."
For example, Singh said, an expansion of the country's exports and a diversification of their destinations will call for equal measures to protect them from threats such as piracy.
The security of India's sea lanes would be equally vital in ensuring the country's energy security and access to other vital natural resources, he added.
"Indian expatriates and our overseas investments, already present around the globe, are also going to be in need of assurances regarding their well-being. Security, therefore, will remain a pre-eminent and key pillar of our national strength," Singh added.
He said India's strategic calculus encompasses areas from the Gulf of Aden to Straits of Malacca and "very recently, we have seen precisely these areas turn once again into fresh theatres of contestation.
"We have consistently maintained that all issues must be resolved peacefully through dialogue. Wherever feasible, multilateral and international organisations such as the IAEA and the United Nations must be allowed to play their due role."
On the procurement of equipment for the armed forces, he said, "Our acquisition processes and procedures must stay abreast of global best practices. Our defence PSUs and ordnance factories too need to do more in absorbing technology and building capabilities.
"They must learn to adapt quickly in order to respond to changing needs and provide the required confidence to the users of their products."
Noting that private sector was in position to contribute to defence industrial base and must be leveraged, the Prime Minister said, "Without this, the users' level of dissatisfaction due to time and cost overruns and technological obsolescence are bound to grow."
He said two task force under Naresh Chandra and Ravindra Gupta have submitted their reports on modernisation and self reliance in defence sector and "I understand they have made valid suggestions and it would be in our national interest to evolve an early consensus on their recommendations."
Tags: Manmohan Singh
Jun 19 2013, 11:28
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Jun 19 2013, 11:28
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