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President flags off Budget Session, says inclusive growth top priority of NDA government

Describing the fundamental tenet of the fundamental tenet of the Narendra Modi-led government as "sabka saath, sabka vikaas" (all together for all-round development) President Pranab Mukherjee Monday said the latest estimates of India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth makes it the fastest growing large economy in the world, where inflation has fallen to a record low.


President flags off Budget Session, says inclusive growth top priority of NDA government

New Delhi: Describing the fundamental tenet of the fundamental tenet of the Narendra Modi-led government as "sabka saath, sabka vikaas" (all together for all-round development) President Pranab Mukherjee Monday said the latest estimates of India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth makes it the fastest growing large economy in the world, where inflation has fallen to a record low.

"According to the latest estimates, our GDP is growing at 7.4 percent, which makes India the fastest growing large economy in the world," he added.

Earlier this month government statisticians came out with GDP data calculated with a new base year, which makes it harder for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to assess the size of the fiscal stimulus required to help boost the economy.

The government said it expects the annual gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 7.4 percent in the current fiscal under a new method for computing national accounts, thereby resulting in the upward economic growth rate.

Shifting the base year from 2004-05 to 2011-12, the Central Statistical Office last week estimated GDP growth during 2014-15 at 7.4 percent as compared to 6.9 percent in 2013-14. It has also revised the growth rate for the first half of 2014-15 to 7.4 percent from the 5.5 percent it had earlier reported under the old method.

"Inflation and food inflation, in particular, are at a record low due to a number of decisive measures taken by the government," the president said.

Wholesale inflation went into negative territory in January for the second time in 3 months as the fall in petroleum and food prices pulled it down to a five-and-a-half year low of (-)0.39 percent . The food inflation was at 8 percent.

Mukherjee also said that capital formation has increased, after a period of near stagnation in last few years, .

However, the Confederation of Indian Industry has said earlier this month in a statement that "growth in capital formation still remains weak at 1.3 percent and needs to be strengthened."

Commenting on the change in data procedures, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan said last month: "We may be reaching the outskirts of the woods but we are not out of the woods yet. So I don't think any data that suggests we are out of the woods at this point, we would put too much weight on it."

Hinting at the government's intent to seek a consensus on passing the land acquisition bill, Mukherjee Monday said the interest of farmers and land owners has been protected in the fine-tuning of the bill.

"While taking utmost care to protect the interest of farmers, including their compensation entitlements, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act has been suitably refined to minimize certain procedural difficulties in acquisition of land inevitably required for critical public projects of infrastructure," he told parliament

In December, by an executive ordinance the government made significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act, including removal of a consent clause for acquiring land for purposes of industrial corridors, public-private partnership projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.

The Bill is likely to be introduced in the ongoing session to replace the ordinance.

Social activist Anna Hazare has called for a two-day agitation against the law here beginning Monday. Protests are also planned by Congress under its vice president Rahul Gandhi on Feb 25. The Aam Aadmi Party has also decided to support Hazare's protest.

"Inclusive growth covering the poorest of poor is the government's top priority," Mukherjee said.

President Mukherjee said that inclusive growth was a top priority of the government and it was committed to expand the job market.

He said the government was streamlining scholarship schemes concerning the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and minorities to ensure their timely disbursement.

The My Gov Online Platform has ensured public participation in decision-making and better implementation of flagship programmes like the Swachh Bharat Mission, Namami Gange, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and the NITI Aayog, the president said

At a time when the focus is on unaccounted wealth stashed away in foreign accounts and on corporate espionage, Mukherjee said: "My government is committed to taking all possible measures to stop generation of black money, both domestically and internationally."

He also said the government is aims to take up the share of clean energy up to 15 percent in the next seven years.

The process for 25 mega solar parks has been approved and implementation of green energy corridor has been accelerated, he added.

"A new tourism policy is on the anvil," Mukherjee announced

He said infrastructure facilities were being improved at tourist destinations and dedicated trains had been started for some pilgrimage destinations.

 

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