Seeking to dispel apprehensions of the economy going downhill, the Prime Minister said, “Through all the ups and down in the face of global challenges and despite the burden of past policy mistakes, our economy is on a rising growth trajectory”.
Singh noted that the rate of growth has more that doubled to an annual average of over 7 per cent in the last two decades and the Indian economy got put on an upward trajectory. “Naturally there will be periods of ups and downs. The economic cycle presents us years of high performance and years of modest performance. But the highs are getting higher and so are the lows.
He said the government’s biggest challenge in trying to sustain this process of inclusive growth has been to bring rates of inflation down and keep the fiscal deficit under control. “These remain a challenge and are being seriously addressed,” Singh said.
Striking a word of caution against “any sudden acceleration of growth”, the Prime Minister said that this, as was seen in the period 2004-2008, creates “imbalances that can contribute to inflation”. “Such growth can also create opportunities for personal enrichment that distorts governance and creates social resentment. Rising economic growth has helped to liberate millions of Indians from chronic poverty, reducing the incidence of poverty, but it has also widened social and economic inequalities.
“Our strategy of inclusive growth has sought to blunt the edge of such disparities,” the Prime Minister said.
Singh recalled that when he had entered politics in the midst of a crisis in 1991, he had to worry not only about reducing the fiscal deficit and reviving economic growth, but also about stabilizing the rupee and ensuring access to adequate foreign exchange as a result of the breakdown of the bio-polar world. (PTI)