New Delhi, Feb 28: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has praised the union budget presented by finance minister P Chidambaram while the opposition parties and outside supporters like SP and BSP have slammed it for being low in substance.
Hailing the budget, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said it would reverse the pessimistic mood and lay the roadmap for investments as he expressed confidence of returning to eight per cent growth within three years.
Singh listed fiscal deficit, inflation and current account deficit as three barriers that can affect the realisation of the growth potential of the economy.
“Given the formidable challenges facing our economy, the Finance Minister has done a commendable job,” the Prime Minister said in an interview to Doordarshan soon after the presentation of the General Budget for 2013-14.
“The Finance Minister has taken important steps to reverse pessimistic mood with regard to investment climate, with regard to the growth potential and possibilities of our economy,” he said.
Singh said India needs to accelerate the tempo of growth to create jobs for its growing labour force to the extent of about 10 million persons every year.
“We need, as the 12th five year plan has mentioned eloquently, a growth rate of about eight per cent. This is a growth rate which is consistent with our underlying potential,” he said, adding it was a difficult task which cannot be achieved in a single year.
Singh said the Finance Minister has laid out a roadmap which has “plenty of food for every ministry to chew there”.
Expressing confidence that India could return to eight per cent growth within three years, Singh said all ministries needed to work together to convert the challenges identified by the Finance Minister into opportunities.
“It is up to the collective wisdom of my council of ministers to convert these challenges into opportunities to accelerate the tempo of growth, to make it more inclusive, to make it more sustainable,” Singh said.
Noting that the economic survey had pegged the growth rate between 6.2 and 6.7 per cent, Singh said “in three years' time, if we work hard and the world economy also improves, we should get back to 8 per cent growth rate in two to three years time”.
He flagged three “barriers”—fiscal deficit, inflation and current account deficit—that can affect the realisation of the growth potential of the economy and said there was a need for a multi-pronged strategy to tackle these.