UPA has taken country forward: PM
As the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) II government celebrated its fourth anniversary in power on Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presented a 'report card', claiming to have taken India forward even amid corruption allegations.
"This Report is the last before the next general elections. Next year, we will report to the people directly, seeking a renewed mandate," he said.
Claiming to have taken India forward, he said the UPA government has journeyed many miles while many more miles are yet to get covered.
"We can legitimately claim, and with pride, that the UPA Government has taken our country forward on all these four fronts in the nine years. We have journeyed many miles, though we know we have more miles ahead," Singh said.
"Let me focus today on 4 key achievements: one, the improved performance of the economy; two, making the growth process more inclusive. Three - Delivery of better governance and welfare programmes; and, four improved relations with a changing and challenging world," he said.
Discussing about the economic conditions, he said,"The economic situation is turning around. Inflation is coming under control. The fiscal deficit is being brought under control."
"Growth must be inclusive and must benefit the poor, especially in rural areas. I believe the UPA govt has a good record in this dimension. Confident that growth in 2013-14 could exceed 6 per cent, this could set the stage for achieving 12th Plan target of 8 per cent growth ," he stated.
Speaking on agriculture, he said, "Faster agricultural growth combined in government programs such as NREGA have improved real wages of agricultural labour. Agricultural wages grew at 6.8pc a year in real terms after 2004, which is six times faster than the rate of growth between 1994 and 2004."
On policies, Singh said,"The impact of our policies on rural prosperity can be seen from the fact that rural per capita consumption grew at 3.4pc per year. Percentage of people below poverty line has fallen much faster after 2004 than earlier."
"Inclusiveness is not just about income and consumption. It also involves access to essential services such as health and education.
According to the report, literacy has improved and polio has been wiped out.
The report card has also committed assurance of safety and security for every citizen especially women, public services to be delivered to specified standards, freedom from delays and harassment which breed graft and corruption and finally elimination of corruption in procurement and allocation decisions of government.
Speaking on administrative measure, he said," We've introduced Lokpal Bill. We've introduced government procurement bill which will make process of government procurement and content much more transparent. Introduced land acquisition bill to replace an old and highly colonial legislation."
"More than two decades ago I said in Parliament that the rise of India as an economic powerhouse is an idea whose time had come. We have seen in these past nine years the full implication of that idea," Singh claimed.
"The central message is that the UPA Government is working to realise your dream of an economically resurgent and socially just India," he added.
On this occasion, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said this was an appropriate moment to celebrate, and also to reflect on what UPA have done in past nine years.
"We've never deviated from our priorities, to address needs of our people mainly weaker sections, pay special attention to farmers, to strive for a growing dynamic economy which is inclusive," she said.
"We've never deviated from our priorities, to address needs of our people mainly weaker sections, pay special attention to farmers, to strive for a growing dynamic economy which is inclusive."
"We have nothing to hide, nothing to feel defensive about. We need to be aware that there has been a deliberate attempt to create innuendo and spread false news to confuse and demoralize people. PM has been fulfilling responsibilities with great dignity irrespective of the opposition. We respect him and we all stand by him,,' she added.
(Posted on 23-05-2013)