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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

PM, FM bat for reforms with cautious approach

Saubhadra Chatterji, and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 09, 2012
First Published: 21:42 IST(9/11/2012) | Last Updated: 21:44 IST(9/11/2012)

With the Congress gearing to face the next general election, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram emphasised on the need for reforms but with a cautious approach.

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The leaders, participating in the party conclave at Surajkund on Friday, also dealt extensively on how higher economic growth rates are essential for funding the UPA's flagship social programmes to bring political dividends for the party.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke after Congress president Sonia Gandhi, strongly defended the recent steps of reforms saying that "the domestic conditions that are creating hurdles in the fast economic growth must be removed."

"Efforts should be made in several areas to get more investments. But above all, an environment in the country that will boost both domestic and international investor's confidence," Singh said in his speech.

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said, "The finance minister said that we have to be cautious about reforms and many steps have also been taken to restore high growth."

Meanwhile, several Congress leaders in the meeting demanded that the number of subsidized LPG cylinders should be increased to the maximum from the current cap of six cylinders annually.

Some leader even suggested that the government must immediately double the number of subsidized cylinders.

Petroleum minister Veerappa Moily promises to take up the issue with PM and FM.

Chidambaram spoke about the steps like fiscal consolidation, stabilising the value of rupee, restarting the growth engine to revive the economy and added that "crucial role of foreign investment is self-evident."

"We can get resources for the welfare of our poor and socially backward population only if there is higher economic growth. We not only want to ensure these social schemes get enough resources but also make them more effective," the PM said.

Singh also explained that to reach a 9% growth rate during the 12th plan period investments to the tune of 38.5% of our GDP would be required.

"We have often been criticized for giving too much importance over GDP growth. But the higher rates of GDP are not an end in itself but a way to reduce poverty, illness and hunger and create job opportunities for our youth," the PM added.


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