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Rest of term will convince people UPA's is a 'caring government':PM

By Staff
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London, May 5 (UNI) The performance of the UPA government has been ''good'' in its first two years and the rest of the term will convince the people that it's a ''caring government'', Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said.

Ahead of the second anniversary of the Congress-led government on May 22, Dr Singh said a policy framework has been laid down to ensure that growth is as inclusive as it can be.

''Last year I got into a lot of trouble because people said I was being unnecessarily modest. I think our performance has been good,'' he told the 'Financial Times', London in an interview.

After giving six points out of 10 for his government in the first year, Dr Singh said it would be fair to say the performance had not ''deteriorated'' in the second year.

For the third year in a row, India's economic growth has been between 7.5 per cent and 8 per cent, public finances are on the mend, inflation has fallen below 4 per cent and the spirits of entrepreneurs have never been so buoyant, he said.

''The macro-fundamentals are moving in the right direction,'' Dr Singh said adding investment levels at 31 per cent of GDP are at their highest since the reform era was ushered in 15 years ago.

He admitted that ''it's not easy'' to manage the 24-party UPA coalition, which depends on the Left parties for its majority in Parliament. ''Some find it difficult to run a single-party government.'' He said it was too early to judge whether his government's programmes were delivering more inclusive growth, but expressed confidence about the success of the flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that promised a minimum of 100 days of employment for every family in backward districts across the country.

''We have put a floor under rural incomes in 200 districts,'' he said, adding ''In the next four to five years the rest of the country will be covered, and if that comes about I think it will be a social security programme of a type never seen in this country.'' The government has put in social safety nets on a wide range of front, which in the next two to three years will convince the people ''we are a caring government that believes in growth with a human face'', Dr Singh said.

UNI XC/FZ KD BD1634

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