Admitting that handling inflation is a shortcoming of the UPA government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday asserted that there was need to take “solid steps” to ease the situation on price rise especially this year.
Addressing the AICC session in Jaipur, he said inflation has been “one shortcoming in our record”. During the UPA regime, the average rate of inflation has remained higher than we desired.
He said a major reason for this has been hike in the rates of petroleum products in the international market during the last eight years and the benefit extended to farmers by increasing the minimum support price for crops.
“We need to take sold steps to eliminate inflation, especially in 2013-14,” he said.
Comparing UPA’s performance with the predecessor NDA, Dr. Singh said the growth rate during the six years of previous regime was 5.8 per cent, while the UPA’s eight year rule saw it increase to 8.2 per cent per annum.
Similarly, he said, the UPA has fared better in eliminating poverty and improving agricultural growth.
Referring to the brutal gang-rape incident in Delhi, the Prime Minister said the country has to travel a long way to provide women with equal social and economic equity.
“We should not forget that women are half of our population and their contribution to development and prosperity is necessary,” he said.
Speaking about his government, Dr. Singh said the party has to decide what it has to tell the people in the year ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
“We have to give right information to the people on our performance and whatever shortcomings had been there we have to honestly admit them.
“A question arises as to why people are not identifying our achievements. One of the reasons is that we (Congress) have not propagated our achievements. Perhaps our communication strategy has not been effective,” he said.
Often people do not come to know what schemes are providing them benefits and that they belonged to the Central government, Singh said adding that on many occasions non-Congress government exploited this by taking credit for them as their own.
Referring to the youth, he said in future schemes the government would have to assure the crores of youth that it fully understands their aspirations and would take effective steps to fulfil their demand.
On corruption, the Prime Minister said they understand the anger and difficulties of the common man on the issue.
“We have taken several steps to improve transparency and accountability and check wrongdoings,” he said citing measures including the removal of discretionary powers of public servants and use of latest technology.
The government is committed to the establishment of a strong Lokpal and hoped that the attempt would be successful soon, he said.
On Right to Information, Dr. Singh because of the transparency the shortcoming of the government and bureaucracy have come to be known which other remained unseen. “We welcome this. Whenever any wrong doing has come to our notice, we have taken effective action against it,” he said.