Govt unveils five-point blueprint for growth
With the government`s image taking a knock on account of a number of scams, President Pratibha Patil listed a number of measures and said together these have the potential of bringing about a transformational change in curbing corruption and enhancing transparency and accountability in governance.
In what could be her last address to Parliament`s joint sitting, the President came out with the government`s plan of action for the coming fiscal in which she expressed government`s commitment to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan through dialogue.
But she asked Pakistan to take credible action against terrorist groups and related infrastructure on its soil.
The President also supported the National Intelligence Grid and the National Counter Terrorism Centre which she said aimed to improve India`s capability to counter internal security threats.
Elaborating on the five "important challenges" the government faces today, Patil said the government will work to guarantee internal and external security within the framework of a "just, plural, secular and inclusive" democracy.
It will also strive for livelihood security for the vast majority of the population and continue to work for removal of poverty, hunger and illiteracy, she said. .
Patil said government would work to achieve economic security through rapid and broad-based development and creation of productive jobs and ensure energy security for our rapid growth.
She said the government will also strive to realise developmental goals without jeopardising ecological and environmental security.
Touching on economy, she said the current year has been a difficult one for world economy and uncertainties have had an adverse impact across the globe.
"There is increased political uncertainty and turbulence in the international system and the environment in which we operate has become more challenging over the last one year.
"Our economy grew at a handsome rate of 8.4 per cent in 2010-11, but it has slowed down to about 7 per cent this year. This remains a healthy growth given current global trends," Patil said.
Asserting that the long-term fundamentals of the Indian economy remained robust, she said India`s growth prospects arise from factors such as high domestic savings and investment rates, favourable demographics, and a stable democratic polity.
"My Government is confident that it will soon steer the country back to the high growth trajectory of 8 to 9 per cent," she said.
Maintaining that the government has remained committed to providing an honest and more efficient government, she said the government has taken several further important steps towards that end.
Patil said a formidable and unprecedented array of Bills has been introduced in Parliament.
These include Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making the Disclosure Bill, Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, Citizens` Right to Grievance Redress Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill and Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, she said.
India, she said, has also ratified UN Convention against Corruption. "Together these have the potential of bringing about a transformational change in curbing corruption and enhancing transparency and accountability in governance. A comprehensive public procurement law is being formulated. The National Mission for Delivery of Justice and Legal Reforms has already been set up," she said.
On blackmoney, Patil said, the government has initiated action on various fronts to tackle the menace.
These include enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, amendment of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, setting up of a special committee to examine measures to strengthen laws to curb black money generation in the country, and commissioning of studies by independent agencies to assess the quantum of black money both inside and outside the country.
"The framing of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules and Controlled Foreign Company Rules has been taken up under the proposed Direct Taxes Code. Efforts are underway to build political consensus on the Goods and Services Tax, which will give a major boost to the economy by rationalising indirect taxes and giving full input credit," she said.