Economic growth likely to slow down to 7.5% this fiscal: PM
NEW DELHI AMID grim global situation and high domestic interest rates, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the country’s economic growth is likely to slow down to 7-7.5 per cent this fiscal from 8.4 per cent last year.
“Growth in the current fiscal year is likely to be lower, between 7 and 7.5 per cent, in a large measure due to the continuing uncertainty in the global economic environment,” he said at the Chief Secretaries conference in India’s capital New Delhi.
India’s economy had expanded by 8.4 per cent in 2010-11 financial year. “This (8.4 per cent growth) was a creditable performance when seen in the background of a crisis-ridden world economy.
“But, monetary tightening together with a difficult global economic environment, particularly the lingering Euro Zone crisis, has impacted the rate of growth adversely,” Singh added.
While price situation is showing signs of moderation, the Prime Minister said the key to controlling inflation in food articles on a sustainable basis is by increasing agricultural production and productivity.
“And it is here that the state governments have a crucial role to play,” he said.
He asked states to give more attention to modern technology in agricultural research besides public investment in the sector and reforms in the farm marketing system and practices.
“There is a need to review and amend the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act to enable farmers to bring their products to retail outlets and also allow retailers to directly purchase from the farmers.
This would bring better remuneration to farmers, check wastage and allow competitive prices to prevail in retail markets,” Singh added.
Amid continued attack on Indian government over corruption, the Prime Minister acknowledged that the efforts to ensure transparency, accountability and probity in public life would take a long time.
Singh cited a number of initiatives taken by the government to rid the country of corruption and said these had moved “substantially forward” over the last one year.
“But, we still have a long way to go in our efforts for ensuring transparency, accountability and probity in public life,” he said.
To achieve these goals, he said, the Centre and states needed to work together.
The statement assumes significance as it comes amidst persistent attack on the government over corruption. The government yesterday faced huge embarrassment when the Supreme Court cancelled all the 122 licences for 2G spectrum allocated in 2008 as these were held illegal.
Singh recalled that last year, while addressing the conference, he had emphasised the need for a systemic response that reduced opportunities for corruption in public life and had stated that his government was committed to taking all legal and administrative measures to curb the menace.
“I had also said that we should make full use of advances in modern technology to improve the delivery of our public services system.
We have moved substantially forward in these areas in the last one year,” he said.