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Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

July 2011

India seeks equitable development and inclusive growth: PM

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addressed the inaugural session of the Conference of State Ministers of Welfare and Social Justice on June 17. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Singh said ensuring equitable development of all sections of society, particularly the weaker sections, was central to the Government’s agenda of inclusive growth. Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mukul Wasnik, gave the Welcome Speech, and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, D. Napoleon, delivered the vote of thanks.

Excerpts from the Prime Minister’s speech on the occasion:

“I am very happy to be in your midst today at the inaugural session of the Conference of State Ministers of Welfare, Social Justice and Empowerment. Ensuring equitable development of all sections of society, particularly the weaker sections, is central to the Government’s agenda of inclusive growth.

The success of our work will be measured in how far we are able to bring succour to our sisters and brothers of the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes (OBC), differently- abled and senior citizens. Although successive governments have made progressive laws which protect the basic rights and dignity of those of us who are disadvantaged in one way or another, the real question is how to implement and enforce these laws effectively, and back them up with adequate amount of resources. It is imperative that we implement the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. We need to ensure that meetings of the Vigilance-cum-Monitoring

Committees at the state and district levels are held regularly. I have written on this subject to all the Chief Ministers. I do hope that the State Welfare Ministers will solemnly implement the letter and spirit of these Acts. At the same time, I invite you to take full advantage of central assistance which is available for this purpose, and which includes setting up of larger number of exclusive special courts for speedy trial of such offences.

One of the darkest blots on our development process is the fact that even after 64 years of independence, we still have the heinous practice of manual scavenging. Today, I would like you to pledge that this scourge will be eliminated from every corner of our country in the next six months.

The Ministry of Home Affairs’ recent advisories that employing a person of scheduled caste or scheduled tribe as a manual scavenger to carry human excreta would be punishable under Section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is a strong and prohibitive instrument in your hands.

The Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for scheduled caste students was revised in July, 2010. Education, health-care, and skill development are the three very important requisites of empowering disadvantaged sections of our community. And therefore, great importance is attached to the provision of scholarships.

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India aims GDP growth of over 9 percent

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has stressed on the need to sustain and pursue the efforts currently underway to reform the international and national policy regimes for better managing the forces of globalisation, in serving the collective well-being of the people. He was speaking after inaugurating the National Banking Conclave organised by ASSOCHAM on the theme “Challenges and opportunities in a Trillion Dollar Economy” on June 17 in New Delhi.

Finance Minister Mukherjee said that India had been more fortunate in surviving the global crisis and the economic slowdown of 2008 without major disruptions. “Our major challenge in the short-term is inflation, which has implications of sustaining our growth momentum,” he said.

Mukherjee stated that in the past few weeks the government had taken measures to address inflation concerns. The monetary policy had been gradually tightened and at the same time new initiatives were announced in the Budget to address some of the bottlenecks in the food supply chain that were behind the inflationary spikes in 2010- 11. He expressed hope that India should be able to repeat the growth performance of 2010-11 in 2011-12 as well.

The Finance Minister said that the mediumterm growth prospects of the economy remained buoyant. He stated that the country needed to aim at a GDP growth of 9 to 9.5 percent for the twelfth Five-Year Plan period. Mukherjee said that the government was in the process of deepening policy reforms in the financial sector and addressing gaps in the overall economic regulatory architecture.

In the Budget proposals for 2011-12, a significant legislative agenda for the financial sector was outlined.

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