The Telegraph
Thursday , January 9 , 2014
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Singh dispels growth fears

Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Wednesday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha

New Delhi, Jan. 8: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today tried to dispel the growing perception among NRIs that the economy was losing its steam by asserting that the country was moving towards “better times” and “re-emerging as an attractive investment destination”.

At the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, a three-day event organised annually by the Indian government for the diaspora, Singh said, “There is no reason to despair about the present or worry about the future. In fact, we are heading for better times and I urge you to remain engaged in the future of this country with confidence and optimism. ”

The country is on the path of economic revival and re-emerging as a preferred investment destination, he said, adding that the growth rate this fiscal could be flat at around 5 per cent.

“Our economy has done well over the past decade. In the nine years since 2004, we averaged a healthy growth rate of 7.9 per cent per annum. There has been no doubt a slowdown in the recent past, and we will probably end this year at the same level as last year with 5 per cent growth,” Singh said.

“I know that many of you have questions about the future of the Indian economy and concerns about social challenges, the shape of our polity and the issues of governance in our country. There is a perception in some quarters outside India that the country is losing its momentum of the past decade,” he said.

Singh said the issue had been amplified by the “political contestations in India, which got inevitably louder in the election season”.

He pointed out that his government was hopeful about the future as it had taken decisions to accelerate the implementation of mega infrastructure projects, reform tax administration, improve fiscal management, liberalise FDI and rationalise the system for the allocation and utilisation of natural resources.

In an apparent reference to the logjam in Parliament and opposition to fiscal reforms, he said, “With greater political support, we could have legislated deeper reform measures, for example, in the financial and insurance sectors. However, our decisions are already beginning to make an impact and India is re-emerging as an attractive investment destination. I am confident you will see the evidence clearly in the next few months.”