Inflation will come down to 6 percent: Manmohan Singh tells NDC

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New Delhi, July 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the inflation is expected to come down at six percent by the end of this year.

Addressing the 55th National Development Conference (NDC), Dr. Singh said: "The present high rate of inflation is mainly due to food price inflation. The government has taken a number of steps to curb inflation. We expect to see the rate of inflation in wholesale prices come down to around six percent by December.

He further said that retail index price would also go down significantly by December.

On the pace of economic growth, he said the country's gross domestic product is expected to expand by 8.1 per cent during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-12) against the targeted nine per cent.

"This is lower than the target of nine per cent, but still the highest achieved in any plan period," he added.

He further appealed to chief ministers to extend their support to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which the government wants to implement from the next fiscal.

"Since the introduction of GST would require constitutional amendments and ratification by at least half of state Assemblies, the support of chief ministers is crucial for radical reforms," he added.

He also drew attention of chief ministers to the Commission's assessment that agriculture not receiving the priority it deserved.

"This must be corrected if we want to achieve a broad-based improvement in living standards in rural areas," he said.

"Our programmes for improving infrastructure in rural areas are very important elements of our development strategy. We need to make a sustained effort to improve performance, especially in States where it is below the national average," he added.

On the problems faced by marginalized sections living in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism, Dr Singh said: "These areas must be provided with additional resources for development and the development programmes must be aligned to the special circumstances of these areas."

"We must recognise that good governance alone gives people a sense of participation and empowerment. In this context, effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act and Panchayat Raj (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) are of critical importance," he added. (ANI)

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