Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (centre), Malaysian Minister of National Resources and Environment, Datuk Seri G Palanive (right), and Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi at the launch of the ‘Incredible Opportunities Back Home’ book, during the opening ceremony of the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014 in New Delhi yesterday.
New Delhi: India’s growth level this fiscal will probably remain at 5 percent, as last year, and the country’s economic situation will improve in the coming months, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said yesterday, telling a large gathering of non-resident Indians that “there is no reason to despair” about the country’s present or worry about its future.
“In the nine years since 2004, we averaged a healthy growth rate of 7.9 percent,” he said here while addressing the inaugural session of the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual gathering of NRIs and people of Indian origin (PIOs).
“There has no doubt been a slowdown in the recent past, and we will probably end this year at the same level as last year with 5 percent growth.” He said poverty levels in the country had been steadily going down.
Manmohan Singh said a number of international and domestic factors have contributed to this situation. “Despite these challenges, our economic fundamentals are strong. Our savings and investment rates are still over 30 percent of the GDP and the entrepreneurial spirit in India is very much alive,” he stated.
He urged Indians abroad to stay positive despite questions about the future of the Indian economy and concerns about social challenges.
“There is a perception in some quarters outside India that the country is losing its momentum of the past decade. This is also amplified by the political contestations here in India, which are inevitably louder in the election season,” the Prime Minister said. “I want to assure you that there is no reason to despair about our present or worry about our future.”
While lamenting that the government could not legislate deeper reform measures in the financial and insurance sectors due to lack of greater political support, Manmohan Singh said the decisions that have been made were already beginning to make an impact and India was re-emerging as an attractive investment decision. “I am confident you will see the evidence clearly in the next few months,” he asserted.
On the education sector, in which NRIs have a lot of interest as many of them send their children here for education, the Prime Minister said the number of central universities in the country have gone up from 17 to 44 while the number of IITs and IIMs have doubled.
Describing the infrastructure development in the country, he said: “We have added 17,000km of highways and more than 200,000km of new roads in rural areas. Our power generation capacity is expanding rapidly, aided by initiatives in solar, wind and nuclear energy to give ourselves a more sustainable energy future.”
Manmohan Singh said that India’s economic growth has not only accelerated but has also become socially more inclusive and regionally more balanced. “Our poverty levels are declining at faster rates; agricultural growth has accelerated; and real rural wages have increased three times since 2004,” he said.
On providing a clean and transparent government, Manmohan Singh expressed the view that the task was complicated “because we have to overhaul entrenched practices and systems while respecting the federal nature of our polity”.
“Strengthening governance is an ongoing process and we can never say that we have done enough, but I am confident that we are moving in the right direction,” he said.
New Delhi: Exploitation of Indian workers in the Gulf countries has come down significantly on the back of a series of steps being taken and social security agreements being signed by the governments, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said yesterday.
“The first priority of the ministry has been to protect the interests of Indian workers in the Gulf. We have taken several steps. Now the complaint has come down significantly,” Ravi said while addressing a press conference here.
Ravi said India has signed social security agreements with almost all the Gulf countries which has helped reduce exploitation of low-paid workers. He said Indian missions provide all necessary supports, including shelter and repatriation facilities with a view to save Indian workers from any sort of exploitations.
Ravi was addressing a press conference at the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) being organised here by his ministry. The minister said the government also provides insurance and other financial and technical support to low-paid NRI workers aiming to shield them from exploitations.
On the concluding day of the event today at Vigyan Bhavan, a special session will be organised to discuss the issues related to the Indian workers in the Gulf, the minister said.
“This session will also deliberate on various options for rehabilitation of the returnees. We shall continue to serve our citizens abroad and deepen our engagement with our diaspora,” he added.