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Economy in bad shape but no need to despair: Pranab

india Updated: Sep 07, 2013 23:05 IST
Priya Ranjan Sahu

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said there might be areas of concern as far as economy of the country was concerned, but asserted there was no need for despair.

Speaking at the convocation of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan here, the President said, “The recent depreciation of the rupee, which is more than 18% during the last one year, high food inflation and a drop in manufacturing activity are matters of concern. Global factors have affected the currencies of many emerging economies including India.”

But he assured that stabilizing the rupee was engaging the attention of India’s policy makers and a number of steps had been taken to strengthen our external sector.

“A good monsoon this year should have a favourable impact on agricultural growth and food prices,” he said.

Mukherjee who was on a two-day Odisha visit from Friday said between 1900 and 1947, India’s economic growth had an annual average of 1%, which climbed to 3% and then took a quantum leap forward.

“The last decade has seen India emerge as one of the fastest growing nations in the world. During this period, our economy grew annually at an average rate of 7.9%,” he said.

Mukherjee said though growth has slowed down in the recent times, the fundamentals of our economy remained strong.

“Steps are being taken to contain the fiscal deficit and boost industrial investments. I am confident of our economic growth being restored to the high levels seen in the past,” he said, adding that India has the necessary resources, talent and policies to effectively handle current difficulties.

Earlier in the day, addressing another convocation at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, the President stressed on the need for quality education and urged for innovation to improve academic system.

He said that as per an international ranking there was not a single Indian university, including the IITs, amongst the top 200 universities in the world.

Leading universities of the West and universities even in countries like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia were ranked higher than any Indian institution, he said.

“We have a vision to take India into the league of leading nations. This is possible only if we have highly capable engineers, scientists, doctors, academicians and other intellectuals. A strong academic foundation is the basis for producing such talented and trained people,” he said.