‘Country averaged a healthy growth rate of 7.9 per cent per year’

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday claimed that the government’s economic reforms had already started creating an impact (on the world) and India was re-emerging as an attractive investment destination.

“…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,” Dr. Singh said inaugurating the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (conference of Indian expatriates) organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs here.

Indian economy had done well over the past decade and in the nine years since 2004 it had “averaged a healthy growth rate of 7.9 per cent per year.” Though there was a slowdown in the recent past, “we will probably end this year at the same level as last year with 5 per cent growth.” A number of international as well as domestic factors had contributed to the economic slowdown. “Despite these challenges, our economic fundamentals remain strong. Our savings and investment rates are still over 30 per cent of our GDP and the entrepreneurial spirit in India is very much alive and kicking.”

Dr. Singh said that in the recent months, the government had taken a very wide range of decisions to accelerate implementation of mega infrastructure projects, reform tax administration, improve fiscal management, liberalise FDIs and rationalise the system for allocation and utilisation of natural resources. With greater political support, the government could have legislated deeper reform measures.

There was a perception in some quarters outside India that the country was losing its momentum of the past decade. “This is also amplified by the political contestations here in India, which are inevitably louder in the election season that is now on the horizon,” Dr. Singh said. “I wish to assure you that there is no reason to despair our present or worry about our future…. We are heading into better times ahead.” Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi recalled the various schemes introduced for Indian expatriates like Overseas Citizen of India Scheme, voting rights for NRIs and the scholarship programme for Diaspora youth.

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