Committed to put eco back on high growth path: PM

New Delhi: Amid global slowdown impacting India as well, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the government is committed to do everything to put economy back on a high growth path of 8-9 per cent.

"The steps we have taken recently are only the beginning of the process to revive our economy and take it back to its trend growth rate of 8-9 per cent," Singh said at the 85th Annual General Meeting of Ficci here.

He said the global economy is passing through turbulent times and "excessive pessimism" at home has hurt the country's growth process.

"But I stand before you to reassure you that our government is committed to doing everything that is possible to alter the policy environment, accelerate economic growth and make the growth process socially and regionally more inclusive," he told the industry captains.

The economic growth slowed to a nine year low of 6.5 per cent in 2011-12 and this year, too, the GDP growth, as per RBI's estimates, is likely to be 5.8 per cent. In the three years preceeding the 2008 global economic crisis, India was growing at a rate of more than 9 per cent.

The Prime Minister further said the government needs to take forward the steps it has taken through constitution of Cabinet Committee on Investment to revive the economy.

"We need to complete the exercise that has begun on GAAR (General Anti Avoidance Rules) and taxation of the IT sector…We will speed up the disinvestment process which will also revive our equity markets," he added.

Liberalisation of foreign direct investment norms in sectors like multi-brand retail and aviation and cutting subsidies on petroleum products are some of the key economic reforms undertaken by the government in the recent past.

In an apparent dig on parties which oppose reforms, the Prime Minister said: "Some of the decisions we have taken were politically difficult and the naysayers and the cynics have tried to halt us in our track, but we had the courage of our conviction and the interests of our people at heart".

Referring to opposition to opening of the retail sector to global supermarkets, Singh said: "I am afraid that those who oppose these moves are either ignorant of global realities or are constrained by outdated ideologies.

"For example, when I hear the debate on FDI in retail, what I hear are arguments against large scale organised retail, not against FDI in retail".

The Centre's decision to open up the retail sector to FDI had attracted widespread criticism, with the debate on the issue being put to vote in Parliament and the government securing a majority.

The government also intends to get Parliament's approval for raising FDI cap in the insurance sector to 49 per cent from the current 26 per cent, besides amendment to the banking laws.

Referring to inflation which is still high, the Prime Minister said it needs to be brought down to 5-6 per cent.

"The inflation rates in the last two years have also increased to unacceptably high levels and need to be brought down to no more than 5-6 per cent per annum," Singh added.