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India to sustain 8% growth: PM

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 21, 2008 13:07 IST
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India will sustain a growth rate of eight per cent despite the adverse impact of the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday.

"We have the ability to sustain a growth rate of about eight per cent. And we will do so," he said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

Exuding confidence that India had the 'resources and the wisdom to grapple and deal' with the crisis, Singh said all instruments of public policy -- monetary, fiscal, public investment and exchange rate -- 'will be deployed' to tackle it.

Noting that the global economy was going through 'choppy waters', the prime minister said, "We can and we will survive this crisis".

Replying to questions after delivering the inaugural address at the Leadership Summit, Singh said the government had 'anticipated the global slowdown' and taken measures in the budget.

Observing that the global economy was passing through a 'deep crisis', the economist-turned-politician said, "We cannot pretend that we are not affected by it.

"The crisis was not made in our country but elsewhere. . . .Due to the interdependency (of the world economies), we are in the same boat," the prime minister said.

Noting that global problems required global solutions, he said there was a need for a global safety net.

Maintaining that he had urged the G-20 to create a global safety net, the prime minister said this was required to ensure that the poor did not pay the price for the 'delinquency' of the rich.

With communal violence in some states weighing heavily on his mind, Singh said, "Competitive politics must not be allowed to divide the people on the basis of religion, caste or region."

He said cooperative pluralism and respect for diversity was the basis of democracy.

With the term of the United Progressive Alliance government coming to an end, the prime minister said his ambition for the 21st century was a fully educated and empowered India.

"The light of knowledge should touch every child," Singh said as he recalled his rise from a 'dusty village' in Punjab to the top office only because of education.

"My dream for myself was realised in my own lifetime."

The prime minister said when US President George W Bush invited him for the G-20 summit, he thought that it should not be a repeat of the G-8 meeting in which leaders from developing countries are 'invited for lunch and breakfast'.

"But then this has no impact on what you do and what you say. It then becomes a counter-productive exercise," he added.

Singh hoped that the Indian state and industry sails, 'not in choppy waters, but with speed and dignity'.

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