Crediting robust fundamentals of the economy for Indias growth prospects,President Pratibha Patil expressed hope that the government will soon steer the country back to the high growth trajectory of eight to nine per cent. She was addressing a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament to mark the beginning of the Budget Session.
The President acknowledged that the economy had slowed down to about seven per cent this year,but maintained that it had been a difficult year for the world economy. The optimism over growth,according to her,stemmed from factors such as high domestic savings and investment rates,favourable demographics and a stable democratic polity. She described inflation as a major challenge for the government and said that strong policy actions by the RBI and effective measures by the government have yielded results.
The last address to Parliament by Patil,who completes her term in July,was disrupted by MPs over a variety of issues from atrocities on Sri lankan Tamils,Telangana statehood,sub-quota for minorities in the OBC quota,and shortage of fertilisers.
Patil,who concluded her speech with an appeal to work together in a spirit of constructive co-operation, was seen gesturing to members to sit down when they interrupted. Patil had barely settled in her chair when DMK MPs sought to know if the government would back a US resolution in the UN against Lankan government for atrocities on Tamils.
The effect of recent electoral reverses seemed evident as the address listed measures for curbing corruption and containing the generation and outflow of illicit funds from the country. These included the commissioning of studies by independent agencies to assess the quantum of black money both inside and outside the country and framing of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules and Controlled Foreign Company Rules under the proposed Direct Taxes Code. The steps initiated to get information on black money from other countries are operationalisation of new Income-Tax Overseas Units,among others.
On the nuclear issue,the President said,My government attaches the highest priority to safety while harnessing nuclear energy,and will not compromise on safety or the livelihood of any section of society in the pursuit of our nuclear energy programme.