Difficult times; govt trying to revive growth: Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday expressed concern over persisting difficult economic conditions, stating that the past year has been a difficult one for the economy.
Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget Session, Mukherjee noted, “Europe is in recession, while market economies’ growth is slowing down.”
He stressed that there was a need to address the impact of growth hurdles.
“Indian economy is experiencing slower growth. Our slower growth is the consequence of global and domestic factors,” the President said.
“The government is taking steps to revive growth. Persisting economic conditions are a worry for all. Also, inflation is easing gradually but is still a problem,” Mukherjee added.
“My government has taken several measures to revive investor confidence. Also, one significant step has been the rollout of direct cash transfer scheme which will complement subsidy schemes,” the President said, adding the scheme will help cut down leakages, bring millions into the financial system and lead to better targeting”.
Mukherjee started his speech by expressing hope that the Budget Session would be fruitful. The start of the President’s speech was marked by slogan shouting by Opposition members.
“I hope this session will be productive and useful. As I speak to you, I am aware that an aspirational India is emerging.
“The Indian youth are our greatest national asset. They are a confident, courageous and passionate lot. I am sure they will take India to a new height,” the President told the MPs.
The President noted that people are concerned about the security of women and children, and added the government has brought in an ordinance and taken several steps for safety of women.
“The government has also begun implementing a series of administrative measures to improve the safety of women. My government has also enacted a path breaking Act - protection of children from sexual acts,” the President said.
The remarks hold significance in the wake of last year’s brutal Delhi gang-rape that evoked nationwide protests.
Mukherjee noted that the average annual GDP growth in the 11th Plan was 8%.
“Growth in the agriculture sector was 3.7% in 11th Plan compared to 2.4% in 10th Plan,” he said.
The President said the UPA government has announced a roadmap for fiscal consolidation and aims to cap fiscal deficit at 5.3% of the GDP.
He said the food grains position in the country was comfortable and that the government was committed to enacting the National Food Security Bill.
The President noted that India continues to be the largest producer of milk in the world.
He said the UPA’s MGNREGA scheme continues to break new grounds in providing employment.
“MGNREGA has provided employment to five crore families. Also, Indira Awas Yojna outlay has been increased and areas infested with Naxalism have been included.”