Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that the government will act “boldly and decisively” to accelerate economic growth and prove “nay-sayers” wrong, signalling an ambitious fight back to revive the economy hit by a sharply sliding rupee, uncertain external conditions and crippling industrial slowdown.
“I do not underestimate the task before us. As the Twelfth Plan (2012-17) points out, our preferred scenario of strong inclusive growth at an average rate of 8% per year will not come from business as usual policies. We have to act boldly and decisively”, Singh said.
He was speaking after releasing a book “An Agenda for India's Growth: Essays in Honour of P Chidambaram,” here.
India’s economy grew 5% in 2012-13, the lowest since the drought year of 2002-03 and Singh said that the last couple of years have been challenging.
“We must view this as a short term deceleration. Our government is determined to once again accelerate the pace of change. Once again, we will prove the naysayers and Cassandras of doom wrong."
Over the past decade, Singh said, when the economy had absorbed the full benefit of the reforms that began in 1991, it had grown at close to 7.5%.
“Our growth rate has slowed down to 5 % in 2012-13. But this should not make us feel disheartened and imagine that we have slipped back to our old growth rate.”
Speedier execution of infrastructure projects was critical to push growth, the Prime Minister said.
“Infrastructure is today a key constraint with many large projects held up. The Cabinet Committee on Investment which we have set up gives us a mechanism to overcome bureaucratic delays. Urbanisation is a new challenge which deserves greater attention,” he said.
He further said that the government has to deal with macro economic imbalances and major challenges in key sectors such as energy, water, and land.
Singh sought to demonstrate how people’s social and economic well-being have moved many notches for the better over the past few years.
“Poverty is falling faster even though there are disputes going on among the professional colleagues about the pace of change. Per capita consumption in real terms in rural areas has increased four times faster from 2004-05 than it did earlier. The erstwhile BIMARU states are doing much better,” he said.