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Slow economic growth won't last long, says PM

delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2013 11:33 IST

With economic growth at the lowest level in a decade, the PM in his Independence Day speech, hoped the slow pace will not last long, saying the government is working hard to remedy the situation.

"I believe that this phase of slow growth in India will not last long... The average rate of economic growth that we have attained in the last nine years shows what we are capable of. However, economic growth has slowed down at present and we are working hard to remedy the situation," Singh said in his address to the nation on the occasion of the 67th Independence Day. In the last nine years, the economy has grown at an annual average rate of 7.9 per cent. "This pace of development is the highest in any decade so far," he said.

After growing at over 8 per cent for two consecutive years, the economic growth slowed to 6.2 per cent in 2011-12 and further to decade's low rate of 5 per cent last year on account of poor performance of farm, manufacturing and mining sectors. India is not the only country facing economic slowdown, Singh said, adding world over there has been a slump in export markets and growth in developing countries have been affected.

"It is not only our country that is facing economic difficulties. The last year has been difficult for the world economy as a whole. Major European nations are experiencing a slowdown these days," he added.

The government expects the economy to grow around 6 per cent in the current fiscal. It has been taking measures to increase investments, especially attracting foreign funds, to push growth. "The average rate of economic growth that we have attained in the last 9 years shows what we are capable of," Singh said.

Singh also expressed anguish over the loss of Navy's front line submarine INS Sindhurakshak in an accident in Mumbai, in which 18 soldiers are feared to have lost their lives.

"We are deeply pained that we lost the submarine, INS Sindurakshak in an accident yesterday. Eighteen brave sailors are feared to have lost their lives," the Prime Minister said in his speech on the 67th Independence Day.

"The accident is all the more painful because the Navy had recently achieved two major successes in the form of its first nuclear submarine, INS Arihant and the aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant," he said.

In one of the worst disasters to have struck the Navy, a series of explosions rocked its submarine INS Sindhurakshak at the dockyard in Mumbai on Tuesday night, sinking it partially in the shallow sea, in which 18 personnel including three officers are feared killed.

The diesel-electric submarine was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1997 at a cost of around Rs 400 crore, and had recently undergone an over Rs 450-crore extensive upgrade in Russia.

A board of inquiry has been constituted by the Navy to probe the reasons behind the accident and it is expected to submit its report within four weeks.

Following are the highlights of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Independence Day speech:

Prime Minister expresses anguish over the loss of Navy's frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak in an accident in which 18 soldiers are feared to have lost their lives.

-- For relations with Pakistan to improve, it is essential that they prevent the use of their territory and territory under their control for any anti-India activity.

-- India will take all possible steps to prevent repeat of incidents like dastardly attack on jawans on LoC with Pakistan.

-- There can be no place for narrow and sectarian ideologies in a modern, progressive and secular country. Such ideologies divide society and weaken our democracy, says Prime Minister.

-- Have not been successful in preventing Naxal attacks that happen from time to time. The Naxal violence in Chhattisgarh on 25 May was a frontal attack on democracy.

-- Assures people of Uttarakhand that the whole country stands with them in this moment of crisis.

-- Government working with all the resources at its command to rehabilitate those affected by devastation in Uttarakhand.

-- Hopes food security bill will be passed by Parliament soon.

-- After the enactment of the Food Security legislation, its implementation will be one of the priorities of the government. Computerisation of the Public Distribution System will be speeded up.

-- Mid-day meal tragedy that happened in Bihar should not be repeated anywhere in the country.

-- The Mid-day Meal scheme will be reformed. The meals being provided to our children should not only be nutritious but also be cooked hygienically.

-- Measuring poverty is a difficult task. There are diverse views about what constitutes poverty. But whatever definition we may adopt, it cannot be denied that the pace of reduction in poverty has increased after 2004, he says.

(With inputs from IANS)