Govt pegs GDP growth during UPA rule at 8.5%



New Delhi: Pegging the country's average economic growth rate at 8.5 percent during the UPA rule so far, the government on Sunday said it was determined to take India to the select league of "middle income countries".

Presenting the UPA government's annual report card, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Indian economy grew at an unprecedented 8.5 percent growth rate from 2004-05 to 2010-11, despite a severe global financial crisis during 2008-09.

"This crisis slowed down the growth rate to 6.8 percent in 2008-09, but the economy rebounded with a robust growth of 8.6 per cent in 2010-11," Singh said, adding that an impressive growth was seen in agriculture, industry and services sectors.

"The performance in agriculture has been particularly satisfying, with our farmers producing more than 235 million tonnes of foodgrains, the highest since independence," he said.

Noting that rapid and broad-based economic growth was essential for inclusive development, Singh said that India was today widely seen as poised to embark on a sustained high growth path of the type achieved by a handful of countries.

"We are determined to deliver on this promise so that India moves rapidly into the ranks of middle income countries, free of the burden on poverty, ignorance and disease that has held us down for so long," he said.

As per the World Bank classifications, India is ranked among lower-middle income economies along with countries like Sri Lanka, China, Pakistan, Iraq and Indonesia.

The World Bank classifies the economies in broadly four categories -- low income (those with Gross National Income per capita of USD 995 or less), lower middle income (USD 996- 3,945), upper middle income (USD 3,946-12,195) and high income (USD 12,196 or more).

Countries like the US, the UK, Australia, France, Germany and Japan are ranked as high-income economies, those like Brazil, Malaysia, Mauritius, Turkey and South Africa are upper-middle income economies.

In the annual report card, Singh further said that the government would look to chart an economic growth process that was "socially inclusive and regionally balanced. "We will endeavour to reduce inequities and inequalities that exist in our country," he added.

The government said that it has also simplified its foreign direct investment policy and steps have been taken towards an improved taxation environment through Direct Tax Code and Goods & Services Tax regimes.

While listing out growth in various sectors of the economy, the government also said it was promoting people's ownership of PSUs through its disinvestment programme.