The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that there are three major challenges before us today. The Finance Minister said that the first major challenge is how to bring entire society especially the poor and vulnerable section of society in the ambit of development process so that everyone shares fruits of benefit of growth and development. Shri Mukherjee said that the second major challenge is to achieve sustained GDP growth at the rate of 9 to 10 percent with fiscal prudence and moderate inflation. Third major challenge is how to develop flexibility in our economic system so that we are not adversely affected or affected to minimum extent due to global economic developments and external shocks. Shri Mukherjee was addressing the probationers of the Indian Economic Service((IES), here today.

The Finance minister Shri Mukherjee said that in order to ensure inclusive growth the government is following the path of empowering people which lead to entitlement backed by legal enactment. In this regard, he specifically mentioned about Right to Education through Universalisation of Education up to the age of 14 years, Right to Information, Right to Employment through Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The Finance Minister said that the Central Government is also making efforts to provide access to food at highly subsidised prices to the poor and most vulnerable sections of society through Right to Food. The Finance Minister said that in order to achieve all these things, we need GDP growth rate of 9 to 10 per cent on sustainable basis which, in itself, is one of the biggest challenges.

The Union Finance Minister said that due to volatility in international commodity prices and other supply constraints, it may not be possible to achieve the growth rate of 9 percent +/- 0.25 percent for the current financial year i.e. 2011-12 as announced in his last Budget Speech. He said that the inflation is also likely to be in the range of 7 to 7.5 percent during this period.

The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that the young officers should work as a knowledge bank as today’s economy is knowledge based economy. They should continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills, the Minister added. Shri Mukherjee said that creativity in the pursuit of knowledge enhances the quality of leadership. He said that creative solutions enhance productivity and hence our production frontiers. Therefore, the officers must remain consistently creative and purse knowledge throughout their life in public service, the Minister added. He said that a firm foundation of willingness to learn and humility is imperative for the ready acquisition of effective knowledge and skills.

Dr. Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor was also present on the occasion.

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