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Prime Minister talks tough, says no tolerance for terror

Taking a strong stand against terrorism, PM Manmohan Singh today said that there would be no tolerance to terror. Speaking in Parliament he urged Pakistani leaders to show courage by taking action against terrorists who have committed crimes against India.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2009 04:00 IST

Taking a strong stand against terrorism, PM Manmohan Singh today said that there would be no tolerance to terror. Speaking in Parliament he urged Pakistani leaders to show courage by taking action against terrorists who have committed crimes against India.

He said Pakistan needed to take "strong and sustained action" to prevent the use of its territory against Indian interests and to "bring to justice those who have committed such crimes in the past".

Such terrorists include those who masterminded the attack on Mumbai in November last year, he said.

"Such action will be welcomed by the people of both countries," he said, addressing both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members. "If the leaders of Pakistan have the courage, determination and statesmanship to take this road to peace, we will meet them more than half way."

Check money, muscle power in elections, says Manmohan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday expressed concern over the use of money and muscle power in elections and said these needed to be curbed.

Speaking in parliament, he said: "The growing use of money power in elections, muscle power, these are developments which need to be tackled if we have to maintain the health of our democratic polity."

He also urged everyone not to encourage groups and individuals who seek to divide the country in the name of religion and caste.

The prime minister was speaking on the last day of the first session of the 15th Lok Sabha.

No discrimination against states, promises PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised on Tuesday that his Congress-led government would not discriminate against any state, including those ruled by rival parties.

He told a joint session of parliament that his government would "operate strictly on the basis of objectivity" while dealing with states and Panchayati Raj institutions.

He urged all chief ministers to work together in the National Integration Council to earnestly implement the various development programmes.

Indian economy will grow at 7 per cent this fiscal: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said India will achieve an economic growth of at least 7 per cent this fiscal and promised more resources for areas like infrastructure and public services.

"In last one year our economy was affected and our growth rate declined to about 7 per cent," the prime minister told the Lok Sabha, replying to the motion of thanks on President Pratibha Patil's address to both houses of parliament.

"I don't promise you we won't be affected by the international conditions, but we will be able to achieve a growth rate of 8-9 per cent, even when the world grows at a lower rate," he said in his 45-minute address.

"This year, we will be able to maintain a growth of 7 per cent."

The prime minister said the reason behind his optimism was that India's savings rate, which determines the money that can be deployed for development projects, was still high at 35 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

"We cannot spend our way into prosperity. But there is scope to increase the allocations, particularly for infrastructure," the prime minister said, hoping Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will address this issue in the upcoming national budget.

Manmohan Singh also sought to allay fears that pump priming of the economy by way of stimulus packages announced earlier and measures that will follow in the ensuing months would fuel inflation.

"It (expenditure towards infrastructure) will not add to inflation, but to our economic growth."

According to the prime minister, fiscal deficit had increased sharply but even then India had enough resources to spend on flagship programmes thanks to the average annual growth of 8.6 per cent achieved during the past five years.

He also said that his government was deeply committed to the agenda listed in the president's address, adding flagship programmes will be further strengthened and public delivery system made more transparent.

"Much ground has been covered, a lot more has to be done."

The motion of thanks, which says the members of the Lok Sabha are "deeply grateful" to the president for her address to both houses June 4, was moved by Congress party leader Girija Vyas and seconded by party colleague PC Chacko.

The motion was subsequently passed by voice vote.

PM presses Sri Lanka to meet Tamil aspirations

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday urged the Sri Lankan government to "show imagination and courage" to meet Tamil aspirations following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

Speaking in parliament, the prime minister said India had "a deep and abiding interest in the well being of the Tamil people in that country".

He added that the "Tamil problem is larger than the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)".

"I sincerely hope that the Sri Lankan government will show imagination and courage in meeting the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Tamil people to lead their lives as equal citizens and with dignity and respect."

He pointed out that India had taken interest in helping Sri Lanka to rehabilitate the hundreds of thousands displaced by fighting that led to the decimation of the LTTE in May.

He said India had provided Rs 500 crore for this purpose and it would be ready to provide more money so that the displaced return to their original homes and occupation.

First Published: Jun 09, 2009 13:16 IST