New Delhi, Sep 17 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that notwithstanding the impact of global flowdown on India, the economy will still clock a growth rate of eight per cent this fiscal and asked State governments to join in the Centre's efforts in controlling prices by maintaining a strict vigil on the activities of hoaders and "unscrupulous" traders.
Addressing the Governor's Conference here, Dr Manmohan Singh said inflation has emerged as an important concern of public policy. The reason for the sharp increase in prices are to be found in the steep increase in import prices of petroleum products and other comodity prices.
He asked the Governors to advise the Chief Ministers on the importance of streamlining the Public Distribution System, especially for the poorer sections to protect them from the soaring price rise.
The Prime Minister said there were signs of "moderation" in the high inflation rate and exuded confidence that the situation will improve further in the coming months because or the measures taken by the government.
The Prime Minister noted that the economy has grown at an annual average rate of nine per cent during the past four years, making India the second fastest growing economy in the world.
Dr Manmohan Singh said the growth prospects in the current fiscal would also be adversely affected by high international crude prices and rising prices of primary commodities.
Saying that growth of the rural economy was critical to achieving inclusiveness, Dr Manmohan Singh said the agricultural growth rate had averaged 3.5 per cent in the last four years as compared to a growth rate of two per cent in the last six years of the previous government.
The Prime Minister noted that agriculture loans of about Rs 70,000 crores have been waived off to help farmers.
Dr Manmohan Singh said according to available indicaters the world is entering a decade of rising comodity prices, particularly in the case of foodgrains, and said it was thus necessary to develop self-sufficiency in foodgrains.
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