Posted On Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 10:48:36 AM
New Delhi: Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday defended the policy reforms unveiled by his government, and said those were necessary to revive economic growth, improve the investment climate and boost public finances.
And he hoped the Indian economy battling a slowdown would rebound in the second half of the current fiscal.
“Our immediate priority must be to orchestrate a rebound in the second half of the current year. We should try to accelerate growth to reach around 9 per cent by the end of the Plan period,” Singh said, warning that a prolonged “policy logjam” could slow economic growth to 5 per cent.
“It will take courage and some risks but it should be our endeavour to ensure that it succeeds. The country deserves no less,” Singh said at a meeting of the full Planning Commission, called to finalise the country’s 12th Five-Year (2012-17) Plan.
In what is viewed as big bang reforms, the government a day earlier opened way for FDI in multi-brand retail, allowing foreign airlines to buy stakes in local carriers, and raised the FDI cap for broadcast carriers.
“To achieve the target of 8.2 percent growth (contained in a new five-year economic plan), we need to revive investment in the economy. The investment environment is therefore critical.” Singh also stressed the need to restore the fiscal health of the country.
According to the prime minister, Thursday’s increase in diesel prices is “an important step in the right direction” as fuel prices in India are out of line with world prices.
The prime minister called for speeding up the infrastructure projects, which are crucial for removing supply bottlenecks that constrain growth in other sectors.
Saying that the country needs around a trillion dollars of investment in infrastructure, Singh said good infrastructure will boost investor sentiment to raise the overall rate of investment.
At the end, the prime minister said, “Our objective is not just growth of GDP, but growth that is inclusive and also sustainable.”
UPA anti-poor, will review support: Maya
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Saturday hit out at the Congress-led UPA government and said her party would decide next month whether or not to continue supporting it.
She said the government was taking anti-poor decisions one after another. Hinting that her party’s patience was running out, the Dalit leader said she will hold a protest rally on Oct 9-10 and would review support to the UPA government.
Mamata gives 72-hour deadline to centre
Giving 72-hour deadline to the centre, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday threatened the centre that she would take a ‘tough decision’ if diesel price hike, the decision on cooking gas and foreign direct investment were not rolled back.
At a protest rally in Kolkata, she said, “We will wait till Tuesday. If the Centre does not roll back, we will have to take a tough decision.” - Jayatri Nag
Mulayam joins hands with others to oppose centre
To pressure the centre, allies Samajwadi Party and Janta Dal (Secular) will join the Left parties, Biju Janta Dal and Telugu Desam Party for a nationwide protest on Thursday to oppose the decision to allow foreign players in retail and hike in diesel prices.
In a joint statement, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and others alleged that the government has “stuck cruel blows on the people one after another”.