Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday expressed confidence that the Indian economy will rebound by the end of this year and once again enter a high growth path.
"Going back to a 9 per cent growth path is our greatest challenge. For this, we will take whatever steps that are required," the prime minister said in his Independence Day address to the nation from the majestic Red Fort.
"By the end of the year, I am confident there will be a major change. But till then, we all have to cope with the situation," he said in his sixth straight address laying down the agenda for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the coming year.
"I appeal to business leaders to work together in this endeavour and meet their social obligations and responsibilities."
According to Manmohan Singh, it was because of his government's policies that the country was able to grow at 6.7 per cent in the last fiscal when the world was facing one of the worst downturns in eight decades.
He said steps will be taken to ensure adequate spending on development projects to boost growth further and capital will be sought not only from domestic sources but from overseas as well.
"India can progress only when each Indian makes a contribution. Our endeavour has been to reach the fruits of development to every citizen. I know we have a long way to go."
The prime minister said he was also aware that high commodity prices were causing hardship to citizens, especially the poor. "We have enough food stocks. Every possible step will be taken to bring down prices," he said.
At the same time, he appealed to all state governments to use all administrative and legislative measures at their disposal to ensure that prices of essential commodities like cereals an pulses are brought down.