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Slowdown? 7% growth certain, says PM

Last updated on: January 11, 2012 13:43 IST

Slowdown? 7% growth certain, says PM

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Akshat Kaushal in Jaipur

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his government expected a reasonably good growth rate of seven per cent in the ongoing 2011-12 financial year.

"Our country is going through difficult times. . . Despite an adverse international environment, the Indian economy is expected to grow by about seven per cent this financial year," Singh said, while inaugurating the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jaipur.

Last month, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had estimated a 7.5 per cent growth for 2011-12.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh adjusts his turban during an election campaign rally.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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Singh, laying his faith on the economy's fundamentals, hoped the country would soon return to an annual growth of 9 to 10 per cent.

That would be courtesy the domestic savings rate, which stood at 33-35 per cent of gross domestic product, he added.

"We hope to bring back the rhythm of our growth processes to sustain an annual growth rate of nine-10 per cent."

Addressing a packed auditorium -- there were 1,600 delegates from 60 countries at the venue, Birla Auditorium -- the prime minister asked the Indian diaspora to contribute much more to the building of a modern India. He expressed the government's intention of encouraging and promoting this engagement.

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Image: Pranab Mukherjee.


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Accompanying Singh were this year's PBD chief guest, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil, besides Parvez Devan, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.  Bissessar, asking Indian investors to invest her country, said Trinidad and Tobago provided an excellent opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs and investors.

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"Trinidad and Tobago has a number of trade agreements, which will allow for market access into the 600 million Central and Latin American markets."

Singh, in a major announcement, said his government would fulfill a long-pending demand of workers abroad -- of setting up a pension and life insurance scheme.

For them, the government has decided to introduce and sponsor a new Pension and Life Insurance Fund.

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The scheme would encourage overseas workers to voluntarily save for their return and resettlement and old age.

It would also provide low-cost life insurance cover against natural death.

The scheme envisages a government contribution of Rs 1,000 annually for all subscribers who contribute between Rs 1,000 and Rs 12,000 a year.

Women overseas workers will enjoy a special additional co-contribution of Rs 1,000 a year.

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The government, Singh added, was keen to provide voting rights to Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizens of India.

For this, it was amending the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

The prime minister said the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was implementing the 'e-migrate project', an end-to-end computerised solution for all processes in the emigration system.

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The system is expected to link all stakeholders -- such as workers, recruiting agencies and employers -- on a platform.

Referring to the political upheaval in West Asia and the Gulf, Singh said the government was concerned about the safety of Indians there.

India has conveyed to countries in the region that it had a stake in their peace and stability, he added.

There are an estimated five million Indian workers in West Asia.

Their money forms almost two-fifth of the country's remittances.






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