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Economy facing difficulties, says PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the Indian economy was facing "difficulties" but expressed hope that the challenges will be overcome. "There are difficulties. Life will not be worth living if there are no difficulties. I am confident with great determination, we will overcome (these)," Singh said in his brief intervention at a panel discussion here this evening.

The Prime Minister was the chief guest at a panel discussion on the `Challenges of Economic Reforms in India`. "I had accepted this invitation on the condition that I will not speak. I don`t wish to break that," Singh said after the discussion during which RBI Governor D Subbarao, Professor of University of Chicago Raghuram G Rajan and Business Standard Chairman T N Ninan participated.

While Rajan called for implementing the second generation of economic reforms including raising of fuel prices quickly, resolving bottlenecks and treating foreign investors `kindly`, Subbarao expressed concern at large fiscal and current account deficits. The issues concerning declining growth and the impact for eurozone crisis on the domestic economy too figured during the discussion.

The growth rate during 2011-12 slipped to three-year low of 6.9 per cent, mainly on account of global factors. The government proposes to raise it to 7.6 per cent during the current fiscal. The discussion was organised by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) which had published essays by leading economists on the economic reforms and developments. .

The essays in form of a book were presented to the Prime Minister by ICRIER Chairperson Isher Judge Ahluwalia. "They (the panelists) have thrown new light on old problems. They have mentioned many challenges our economy is facing. There are difficulties," Singh said. Earlier introducing the book, Ahluwalia said that the Prime Minister had agreed to attend the discussion on the condition that he will not speak.

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