Government taking corrective steps, says PM
Attempting to dispel the public perception about lack of governance and charges of policy paralysis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said his government is taking corrective steps to set things right.
At a function held to mark the UPA's ninth anniversary, the prime minister said: "There are many things that are wrong and it is the responsibility of the government to set them right".
"Critics sometimes focus attention on problems that have surfaced and not enough on the corrective steps we are taking," he said.
Stating the UPA government delivered an average of eight percent growth in the first eight years of the United Progressive Alliance government, the prime minister said India fared better than the developed nations.
"We must keep in mind that the last year saw negative growth in the Euro zone, zero growth in Japan and less than two percent in the US," he said.
He said the government had set up a cabinet panel on investments to fast track large infrastructure projects.
He said the 11th Five Year Plan saw accelerated growth in the agriculture sector to 3.6 percent up from 2.4 percent in the previous plan.
He highlighted the several steps the government had taken to bring economic reforms in areas of finance, banking, insurance, infrastructure and taxation.
The prime minister mentioned that direct benefits transfer scheme using the unique identity Aadhar numbers will help address the problem of leakage, wastage and delays in delivery of social welfare plans.
He listed several developments in the health sector, saying no polio endemic has been reported in the past two years and six All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had started functioning.
The rural job plan Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme (MGNREGS), he said, now reaches every fifth household in the villages and half of its beneficiaries were women besides the marginalised sections like the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
Bharat Nirman initiative was creating more infrastructure in rural areas, he said.
But he also acknowledged there were several challenges.
"We recognise that we are still in the downturn phase of growth and sustained effort is needed to boost growth in 2013-14 and beyond," he said.
"We need to do a lot more on inclusive growth."
The government has followed the policy of development of science and technology, including space research and exploration, he said while mentioning the installation of the 1,000 MW first nuclear powered reactor in Kudankulam and stating that the country's 100th space mission has been crossed last year.
India's defence preparedness had been enhanced in the recent years, he said and stated that there was significant progress in development and production of defence equipment.
"We have successfully advanced our economic development goals and national security consistent with our international responsibilities," he added.
(Posted on 22-05-2013)