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Next fiscal likely to be more difficult: PM

business Updated: Jan 03, 2009 19:40 IST
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Expressing concern over the 'effects' of global slowdown on the Indian economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday cautioned that the next fiscal could be 'more difficult'.

"We are facing a new challenge due to the global meltdown. The next fiscal could be more difficult," Singh said a day after the announcement of the second stimulus package by the government.

However, the prime minister claimed that despite the global economic slowdown, India would achieve a growth rate of close to 7 per cent this fiscal.

Singh, who was in Shillong to inaugurate the 96th Indian Science Congress, said, "Global economic slowdown is a challenge before the country. World is affected by economic slowdown. We are also affected by the slowdown as world economy is interlinked."

Stating that the exports of the country was also being affected by the slowdown, Singh said, "We need to minimise the impact. New packages have been announced which will help us in stemming the adverse effects of the slowdown."

Dr Singh also asked Indian industry to invest more in R&D and boost demand for science and technology graduates and researchers.

"Look at the role played by public investment in nuclear energy, space and defence-related industry in creating the demand for science and technology graduates. We need a wave of such investments from the private sector, so that young people are encouraged to seek a career in science," he said.

He added demand-side stimulus must come from institutions and industry.

"Several schemes and programmes based on public-private partnership have been launched. We are encouraging partnership programmes with the corporate sector to promote privately- funded research. I am happy to learn that NASSCOM and FICCI have been engaged in this effort," said Singh.

Singh also assured to double the investment in science from the present one per cent of the national income to two per cent.