Inflation a cause for concern: Manmohan

Updated on May 22, 2007 05:12 AM IST
The PM will unveil his Govt's report card today, reports Saroj Nagi. Costly 3rd year
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Hindustan Times | BySaroj Nagi, New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will promise vigilance over rising prices to protect vulnerable sections of the society when he unveils a report card on the three years of his government on Tuesday.

In the foreword to the Report to the People 2006-07, the Prime Minister is expected to say that the growth processes unleashed during his rule have put pressure on prices. "We have been faced with galloping demand for many products and this has resulted in inflation becoming a cause for concern, particularly in the case of some essential commodities," he says.

While the government has taken credible steps to control inflation, it will continue to be vigilant so that the poor do not suffer, he says in the report, which will be released in the presence of UPA allies and supporting parties.

In the foreword, Singh also seeks to address the criticism that high growth rates recorded during his rule were not inclusive and did not trickle down to the common man, the centerpiece of the UPA's National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP). His cabinet colleague Mani Shankar Aiyar recently said the UPA was in danger of losing the common man's support if the government did not correct its economic policies.

Singh said he recognised that high national income growth alone did not address the challenge of employment promotion, poverty reduction and balanced regional development. Nor did it improve human development.

But putting up a stout defence of his government's commitment to inclusive growth, Singh underlined that the NCMP itself was based on the recognition that economic growth must be "socially inclusive and regionally balanced".

The key components of the strategy of "inclusive growth" includes stepping up investment in rural areas, agriculture, education and healthcare, besides empowering SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women and children and ensuring that the growth process spreads to backward regions and districts.

He listed out the steps taken by his government in each of these areas, including the Bharat Nirman programme - a Rs 1,74,000-crore investment programme for rural development - doubling farm credit and raising procurement prices for wheat and rice, ensuring remunerative prices for farmers and giving a social safety net to the poor through the national rural employment guarantee programme.

"As economic growth spreads to newer regions, specially in northern, central and northeastern India, the growth process will help reduce poverty in the most backward regions of the country," he says in the report.

Singh says in the report that his government had substantially implemented the NCMP.

"It is my sincere hope and firm belief that by the end of our tenure in government we would have delivered more than we had promised."

The prime minister also touched on issues such as the steps taken to address the problems that prevail in Jammu and Kashmir and improve relations that India has with neighbouring countries.

He described the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement as a "turning point in our development history".

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