New Delhi, May 23: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday spoke of the UPA having improved economic performance, rebutted opposition allegations on 2G spectrum and coal blocks allocations, and talked of the country's re-emergence through transformation.
Here are excerpts from the prime minister's speech:
* On faster growth
We are confident that growth in 2013-14 will be better than 2012-13 and could exceed 6 percent. This will set the stage for trying to achieve the 12th Plan target of 8 percent growth for the five year period. This will be difficult, but it is not impossible.
Many people who are willing to concede that we have done a good job on growth, question our performance on inclusiveness...I believe the UPA government has a good record in this dimension.
* Agricultural growth
Agricultural wages grew at 6.8 percent per year in real terms after 2004, which is six times faster than the rate of growth between 1994 and 2004.
* Rural prosperity
Rural per capita consumption grew at 3.4 percent per year in real terms after 2004. This is four times faster than the growth rate of 0.85 percent observed in the earlier period.
* Reduction in poverty
The percentage of the population below the poverty line has also fallen much faster after 2004 than in the earlier period...The so-called BIMARU states grew much faster in the Eleventh Plan than in earlier Plans.
* Welfare measures
Of course, public debate often focuses less on what has been achieved and more on whatever is still to be done. Where access has been provided, quality is still an issue and we need to push hard to address these issues satisfactorily. To our critics I would only say that in many of these areas since the glass was almost empty when we started, it will take some time before it is really full. The important point is that it is filling. I must emphasise that success in this area depends critically upon the states.
* Governance and delivery of programmes
Improving the quality of governance in a vast nation like ours is a major challenge. Both the Centre and the States have to act to deal with this problem. The UPA government has done more in this area than any other government.
* Spectrum and coal block allocation
We have introduced more transparent systems for the future, i.e., auctions rather than relying on administrative allocations. The problems with past allocations are being dealt with, as they should be, under the Law. Allegations of impropriety are being investigated and cases of wrong doing will be punished.
* Young citizens
The UPA Government is working to realise your dream of an economically resurgent and socially just India. An India in which every citizen can expect to live a life of security and dignity with every opportunity to develop their own capacity to participate in and benefit from one of the great historical transformations that will take place over the next twenty years; the re-emergence of India as a major economic player in Asia and the World.
This re-emergence will involve many transformations. It will involve transformations in the way government functions, shifts from agriculture to non-agriculture, a rapid expansion in the manufacturing sector, a revolution in information and communications technology which will change both government and business processes, an expansion in the population in urban areas and a corresponding transformation in the way urban governments work. It is an exciting transformation which will generate many stresses and strains. Under the inspiring leadership of Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, the UPA government is determined to bring about this transformation in a way in which all our people will benefit and participate.