Amid mounting concerns over price rise and slow growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday offered little cheer to the common man, saying bad monsoon will pose some difficulty in curbing inflation.
In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister said the country's economic growth has been affected due to global slowdown and problems within the country.
"Last year our GDP grew by 6.5 per cent. This year we hope to do a little better," he said. The country's GDP growth fell to a nine-year low in 2011-12.
Emphasising that inflation must be controlled, Singh said bad monsoon would play a spoil-sport. "...We must control inflation. This would pose some difficulty because of a bad monsoon this year," he said.
Monsoon rains have been 16 per cent lower so far affecting sowing of crops. Prices of food articles remain stubbornly high in the face of drought-like-condition in several states.
Singh conceded that the country has not been able to create a conducive environment for achieving rapid economic growth because of lack of political consensus on many issues.
In a message to political parties, he said: "Time has now come to view the issues which affect our development processes as matters of national security".
As the coalition UPA government has not been able to implement several key reforms like foreign investment in multi-brand retail and liberalising the insurance, banking and pension sectors, it faces criticism of policy paralysis.
Singh cautioned if the economic growth is not increased, new investments are not encouraged, and livelihood security of the common man and energy security are not ensured, "then it most certainly affects our national security".
He emphasised that "we have to create confidence at the international level that there are no barriers to investment in India".
Image: A college girl gets her eye painted in tri-colours of the national flag. | Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters