Vajpayee warns of danger lights in economy

Monday, 23 December 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Saturday warned the nation about the "danger lights" flashing on account of the slow pace of economic reforms and said his "biggest worry" was the yawning fiscal deficit.

"We need to enhance revenues and address the problem of untargeted runaway subsidies," he said while inaugurating the National Development Council meeting here.

The NDC meeting, attended by all state chief ministers, was convened to finalise the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-07) that envisages an eight percent annual growth rate.

Vajpayee said the finance ministry was preparing a paper on reform of subsidies and added: "We should put in place a firm roadmap for applying correctives in a time-bound manner."

This was necessary to ensure that the subsidies reached the poor and were not "siphoned off" by others, he added.

He referred to the 5.5 percent growth rate this year and said there was no need to be sceptical about achieving the eight percent growth targeted in the 10th plan.

The country could "undoubtedly" achieve the target by removing constraints in agriculture, industry and services, he said.

''I would like to emphasise that there is no need to be sceptical; there is no need to wonder whether it is at all feasible for us to climb from the growth rate of 5.5 percent last year to eight per cent during the Tenth Plan,'' he said.

''If we remove the many constraints and hurdles in agriculture, industry and services, India's economy will undoubtedly attain a higher growth rate,'' he asserted.
Source: IANS
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