Following is the address of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh at release of Report to the People 2010-11:
“We are meeting here again to present our Report to the People. I have viewed this initiative as a symbol of our commitment to transparency and accountability in governance. The United Progressive Alliance has offered seven years of political stability, social progress, communal harmony, economic growth and increased engagement with nations around the world.
Our record is an open book. I invite every citizen, every political activist and every member of the media to read this report and judge us by our performance.
I am happy to report that in these past seven years our economy has grown at an unprecedented rate of 8.5 per cent. This historic performance has been in the face of a grave financial crisis and slowdown in the world economy. It has been achieved overcoming the problem of high energy prices and rising food prices.
If each one of us continues to work hard with dedication, commitment and honesty, I am sure India will soon emerge as the fastest growing economy in the world. We already are the world’s fastest growing democracy.
We have pursued a strategy of seeking “inclusive growth” at home and “inclusive globalization” internationally that benefits the have-nots and reduces disparities.
We have enacted laws that guarantee the Right to Employment, Right to Education and the Right to Information. We now propose to introduce a legislation giving our citizens the Right to Food.
A superstructure of development has been built on this foundation of investment in human capabilities. Our policies have aimed to empower, socially, educationally and economically, the weaker sections of our society – Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women.
We have a long way to go in banishing poverty and in providing gainful employment to all. But I would urge you to look at the impressive distance we have walked in these past seven years. Friends,
India stands at the cusp of new opportunities, and new challenges. These are difficult times, with rising energy prices, with increasing demand for food, with new challenges to human security. But these are also times of change, with the engine of global growth shifting eastwards to Asia. Asia is on the march, and so is India.
Our people look to the future with hope and the world looks at us with hope. With new opportunities, come new responsibilities. But, there is much we must do at home to be able to realize our hopes, our aspirations, and our dreams.
Our most immediate challenge is to sustain the growth process, while keeping inflation under check. There are four dimensions to sustainable economic growth: fiscal, social, ecological and political.
The fiscal challenge is immediate. In response to the global economic slowdown we undertook a massive fiscal stimulus programme that helped maintain reasonable growth. Today, however, we must reduce the fiscal and revenue deficits, increase public investment, and cut down on wasteful subsidies.
This challenge has been made all the more daunting by the rise in world fuel prices. As an importer of oil we have to adopt rational pricing policies. This is not just prudent fiscal management. This is a national security imperative. India cannot become too dependent on external sources of energy.
Equally, we cannot become too dependent on world markets for food. The imperatives of food security impose certain policy options. The Indian farmer has to be empowered with better prices, better policies, better access to finance, to technology, to infrastructure and to markets.
We are also mindful of the threat of climate change and the need to make our growth process ecologically sustainable. This means we seek to build a low carbon economy. This calls for investment in research and development of alternative sources of energy, including nuclear energy. We seek globally open markets and access to technologies that will improve the quality of life of our people, especially the poor.
The challenge of social sustainability of growth is a universal challenge today. Rapid growth and urbanization have contributed to increased inequalities and inequities. Improving public services delivery particularly education and health, better targeting of subsidies, ensuring employment opportunities and economic support for women, for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, and minorities are all needed to ensure social sustainability of growth.
Our government has launched a massive programme for skill development and for technical training and basic education. These enable hitherto deprived sections of our society to participate in the growth process.
Finally, there is the challenge of good governance and the need for political stability. In the past several months a conjunction of several developments relating to 2G spectrum allocation, procurement and contracting issues related to the Commonwealth Games, and similar issues in state governments have brought public focus on the issue of corruption in public life.
The developments have caused many concerned citizens to worry about the state of governance and the pervasiveness of corruption. These are legitimate concerns and the UPA government is determined to take corrective action. The due processes of law are already in motion. We are taking steps to prevent such developments in future and reduce discretionary and arbitrary use of power by public officials.
In a democracy, every political party has the responsibility to ensure political stability. Predictable change is a part of democratic politics. In the past few weeks our country was proud to witness peaceful elections to five State assemblies. Apart from the historic verdict in West Bengal, in other states too participation in elections was very high. This reaffirms our people’s faith in the institutions of democracy.
Even when economic and political stability are assured, the threat of terrorism looms large. We must all stand united in our combined fight against the forces of terrorism, extremism and instability. We must not minimize the challenges we face. At the same time, we must not be over-whelmed by them. I am confident that the people of India will stand together as one in fighting the divisive forces of destabilization. I assure you that our government will remain ever vigilant in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
We will work along side the international community to create a global environment conducive to the realization of our developmental aspirations. As a member of the Group of 20 and presently of the United Nations Security Council, India is being called upon to provide global leadership in dealing with the challenges of development and international security. We will work with the international community in the spirit of “inclusive globalization.”
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, as we present our Report to The People, we in government feel humbled by the faith reposed in us. The challenge before us is to repay the people of India in kind – with policies and programmes that offer them better lives, a better future, a secure neighbourhood, a peaceful world.
For me this has been a daunting journey. The love, affection and support of the people of India have given us the strength, the energy and the determination to take our country forward. On behalf of the UPA government, I would like to once again thank the people of India for the confidence they have reposed in us. “