Rising consumption needs is a challenge: PM
New Delhi, Mar 23: With inflation showing no signs of relenting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today acknowledged that India is faced with a new challenge of addressing the rising consumption needs of billions of people and talked about the dangers of unbridled growth. ''There are challenges which are new, the challenge of addressing the ever-increasing consumption needs of billions of people'' and the ''ill-effects of unbridled growth,'' Dr Singh said in his address at the 'India Today Conclave.' His remarks came minutes after official figures showed that the headline inflation rate for the week ended March 10 remained unaltered at 6.46 per cent.
Without referring to experts' view that the present GDP growth at 9 per cent was showing signs of overheating, the Prime Minister said the aspirations of the developing world posed a new challenge for which there were no answers.
''If all the developing countries of the world were to aim for a standard of living which is presently seen in the more developed countries, we need to reflect what the environmental consequences would be.
''Is our planet capable of sustaining a high consumption lifestyle for all its inhabitants? After all, all nations face a single environment and hence, the ill-effects of unbridled growth would affect all nations equally. This is a new challenge for which there are no answers.
''As a large nation, India can certainly take a lead in showing the way to the world,'' he said without elaborating.
The Prime Minister delivered his address on the subject of ''Challenges for the brave new world: Can India take the lead?'' Pointing out that New Delhi would be hosting the 14th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in a fortnight, he assured the neighbours, that in India they had a well-wisher. In the same way, India saw their prosperity as a guarantee of its own.
''We see their prosperity as a guarantee of ours. We see their progress as reinforcing ours. And so must they. The destiny of the people of South Asia is interlinked and inter-dependent. Our region must and can move forward through such a cooperative engagement.''