Manmohan Singh says global economic downturn nearing its end

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New Delhi, Sep 1 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Tuesday said, that the global economic downturn is coming to an end, though slowly.

"We have been through a difficult year because of the global economic downturn which is only now coming to end with a slow return to normalcy in the months that lie ahead," Dr. Singh said in his opening remarks chairing the meeting of the full Planning Commission, which is assessing the economy and status of Integrated Energy Policy (IEP).

Dr Singh also said the country has also seen a poor monsoon.

"I felt it would be useful for the Planning Commission to present its assessment of the overall economic situation to the Minister Members of the Commission," he said.

He also reviewed India's energy policy.

"Energy is vital to our economic growth. This is an area where we are a deficit economy. We import over 70 percent of our petroleum energy needs and are also moving to a deficit position in coal," Dr Singh said.

"Rational energy policies are also critical for rational responses to the threat of climate change. This is a new compulsion and we need to assess whether we are on track in critical aspects of our energy policy," he added.

He said each energy sub-sector in India was the domain of a different ministry, which often meant non-symmetric policy stance. In other words, the principles being adopted to determine policy in one sector are not the same as in another.

"The Integrated Energy Policy document that was approved by the Cabinet in December 2008 contained a number of recommendations covering different sub-sectors. I thought it would be useful for the Planning Commission to present an assessment of how these recommendations have been implemented," he added.

The Planning Commission's meeting comes a day after the country's top economic minds agreed that India's economy is looking up after the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed a 6.1 per cent growth.

India witnessed a 7.8 percent economic expansion during the corresponding period of the last fiscal.

According to sources, mining and electricity in industrial sector, and financing among services sector posted higher growth of 7.9, 6.2 and 8.1 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of this fiscal, against 4.6, 2.7 and 6.9 percent a year ago.

Infrastructure development and community services also managed to register a growth of 7.1 and 6.8 percent against 8.4 and 8.2 percent, in the last fiscal.

However, agriculture and manufacturing industry expanded at a slower rate of 2.4 and 3.4 percent respectively. (ANI)

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