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Need leaders to bring back 9 per cent growth: Manmohan

india Updated: Oct 31, 2009 02:35 IST
HT Correspondent

Despite the global economic downturn and the severe drought this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he expected an early

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return to the days of high economic growth.

Outlining his vision for the country’s future at the annual two-day Hindustan Times Leadership Summit which, began on Friday, Singh hinted, however, that the pace of recovery would depend on the quality of leadership in the country.

“We should aim to sustain annual growth rates of 9 to 10 per cent per annum,” Singh said in his inaugural address. “That our savings rate is as high as 35 per cent of our GDP suggests this is a goal that can be realised.”

He cautioned too against imposing Delhi’s ideas on the rest of the country. “With the growth of the market economy, and with individual talent and enterprise being unleashed, no agenda for building a new India can be imposed from Delhi any more,” he said.

Earlier, HT Media Ltd Chairperson Shobhana Bhartia welcomed the prime minister. "I’m sure the brainstorming during the two-day
summit will throw up many new ideas," she said.

Speaking after the prime minister, Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee echoed his view that the economy would return to a 9 per cent plus growth rate, but said it would take about two years.

“To achieve 9 per cent, the agriculture sector should grow by at least 3.5 per cent each year,” said Mukherjee.

After growing at an average annual rate of more than 8.5 per cent during 2004 to 2008, including a high of 9.3 per cent in 2006-07, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth fell to 6.7 per cent in 2008-09.

It grew by 6.1 per cent for April to June quarter of this year, up from 5.8 per cent in the previous quarter, but the severe drought that followed could pull it down again.