New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) With the Government having delivered a thumping eight per cent growth rate, India was once again on the march as a self-confident nation and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted today.
''Never before have our prospects been as good as at present...
India stands tall in the world comity'', declared the Prime Minister while replying to the three-daylong debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address.
The Prime Minister's speech was marred by a walkout by the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party which quit objecting to remarks by the PM regarding members who were not present then. Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat refusing to allow objections by the BJP members further incensed the main opposition.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made clear that the ruling United Progressive Alliance Government stood staunchly by the Common Minimum Programme which remained the basic guide for its policy formulations.
''There may be differences of perceptions but the Government stands solidly committed to the Common Minimum Programme... we would like to be judged by our adherence to it....'' Describing poverty as the greatest challenge facing the Government, the Prime Minister pointed out that even growth was not a sufficient condition for eliminating it and efforts in this regard demanded a multi-pronged approach.
He said the Government was fully alive to deployment of resources in backward regions, equitable development of all sections of society including women and empowerment of marginalised and weaker sections.
Observing that the Government had revamped food security, the Prime Minister, however, warned against complacency on this account.
In this regard, he referred to import of 500,000 tonnes of wheat as ''a precautionary measure'' to strengthen ''the ability to maintain price stability''. Urging that ''this measure of prudent precaution'' be not read otherwise, he further assured that it would not harm the farming community.
The Prime Minister also paid fulsome praise to Railways Minister Lalu Yadav -- who was present -- for effecting ''a remarkable turn- around'' in the Indian Railways and bringing therein ''a new era of progress and development''.
On the spate of suicides by farmers in various parts of the country, the Prime Minister informed that he had asked Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to evolve a Special Package aimed at tackling the issue.
The House later adopted the Motion of Thanks.
Eds: Here please pick up as desired from earlier series.
UNI DG RP BD1949