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Economy is strong: PM
Published on 16 Aug. 2010 12:07 AM IST
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India’s 64th Independence Day went off peacefully Sunday, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assuring the nation that inflation will be tamed, asking Maoists to talk to the government and warning that the peace process with Pakistan could be hit unless it stopped backing terrorism
With a strong note of optimism on the economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday assured the nation that inflation will be tamed, promised world-class infrastructure to spur growth and announced a new institution to develop high-yielding seeds.
“We are building a new India in which every citizen would have a stake, an India which would be prosperous and in which all citizens would be able to live a life of honour and dignity in an environment of peace and goodwill.”
The prime minister said there were indeed problems like high prices of food items like grain, pulses, vegetables and fruits, which were hurting the poor the most, and underlined that he shared the people’s concern.
He also justified the recent hike in prices of petroleum products and said there was no option before the government given the high cost of crude oil, of which India is a major importer.
Overall, the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the progress the Indian economy was making, especially in the light of severe drought-like situation last year and the worst global slowdown since the 1930s.
“I am happy to say we have acquitted ourselves well in difficult circumstances. Despite many problems, the rate of our economic growth has been better than most other countries in the world. This shows the strength of our economy.”
All eyes were on Manmohan Singh who delivered his seventh successive Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort - where the flag of free India was unfurled by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on Aug 15, 1947.
“I once again appeal to Naxalites to abjure violence, come for talks with the government and join hands with us to accelerate social and economic development,” he said in a 40-minute speech in Hindi that was heard by foreign diplomats, his ministers and officials and thousands of school children and ordinary people and was nationally telecast.
Manmohan Singh made no reference to any country in his speech except Pakistan while underlining New Delhi’s desire to live in peace with neighbouring countries. “We have been emphasizing this in all our discussions with the Pakistan government. If this is not done, we cannot progress far in our dialogue with Pakistan,” he said.
An army of security personnel protected the Red Fort and its environs.
Sharpshooters were posted on buildings in the city’s old quarters while military helicopters and anti-aircraft guns were deployed discreetly.
Attention to NE
Expressing readiness to carry forward talks with insurgents in the Northeast, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said his government had a special responsibility towards the region.
“We have a special responsibility towards the States of the Northeast. We are trying to live up to that responsibility,” Manmohan Singh said.
With the Manipur blockade by Naga outfits in recent months weighing heavily on his mind, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to political parties and groups from the region to come for dialogue to resolve disputes.
Dr. Singh said his government was ready to take forward every process of talks that could lead to progress in resolution of problems of the region.
“The North-Eastern part of our country has been witness to some unpleasant incident in the recent months. I would like to convey to all political parties and groups of the North East that disputes in the name of state and tribe can only harm all of us. Discussion and dialogue are the only options to resolve complex issues,” he said.

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