Notwithstanding the impact of global meltdown, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh struck an optimistic note on Monday saying the Union Budget 2009-10 seeks to recapture the rhythm of accelerated growth process and move towards eight to nine per cent growth in the medium term.
Singh said that the Budget also aims to honour in large measure the commitments made by the UPA government to work steadfast for the well being of the aam aadmi(common man).
"Overall the strategy of the budget is to ensure that our economy recaptures the rhythm of the accelerated growth process," he said minutes after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented the Budget in the Lok Sabha.
The finance minister has done a "commendable" job in reconciling the short-term requirements of the economy, to provide a stimulus to the growth process and, at the same time, ensuring that the growth rate was regained despite the recessionary tendencies in the world economy
To a question on country achieving a growth rate of seven per cent, Singh said, "we are working towards that goal and it is achievable.
"Seven per cent growth rate this year is an achievable target but it is not good enough for the medium term and we must move to a growth path of eight to nine per cent", Singh
"Right now, a major concern is to minimise the impact of international recession on economy and for that it is necessary to provide stimulus to our economy. That process began in December last year. This budget carries that process further", Singh said.
Mukherjee has chosen a strategy to concentrate on increasing investments in the infrastructure sector, both in the public sector and in the private sector, through the public private partnership (PPP) route, he said.
Simultaneously, the finance minister has taken care that "we spend lot more money in putting in place social safety nets, in increasing our investment outlays in rural development, agriculture, in healthcare services and in urban renewal missions", Singh said.
The increased outlay for National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), he noted, was very significant and reflected government's commitment to the well being of the poorer sections of society.
He said handsome additional allocation has been made for inclusive growth and other flagship programmes like Urban Renewal Mission and National Rural Health Mission. "It is essentially a rural development-oriented budget".
The record increase in allocation to NREGA for which Rs 39,100 crore has been earmarked besides increased money for additional irrigation benefit schemes, the Bharat Nirman programme, would primarily benefit the rural areas and reduce the gap between 'Bharat and India', Singh added.