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Diesel price hike important, a step in the right direction: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

CNN-IBN
Sep 15, 2012 at 02:38pm IST

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday indicated that the government was looking at growth-oriented reforms and defended the diesel price hike saying it wasn't wrong. "The recent increase in diesel prices is a move in the right direction," Manmohan Singh said at the Planning Commission meet unveiling the 12th Five Year Plan.

The Prime Minister also said it was important to take risks for growth. "Courage and some risks are needed to achieve high growth," he said.

ALSO SEE Full text: PM's speech at the Planning Commission meeting

The Prime Minister also made a case for comprehensive review of energy policy saying it was vital for energy security of the country.

Energy, Singh said, "is a difficult area where policy needs a comprehensive review. We are energy deficient and import dependence is going up. It is vital for our energy security that we increase domestic production and also increase the energy efficiency.

"Rational energy pricing is therefore critical. Our energy prices are out of line with the world prices", he added.

Stressing on the need to increase private investments, Manmohan Singh said, "Our immediate priority should be rebound in this year. This will yield a target rate of 8.2 per cent which is lower than the targetted 9.7 per cent. To achieve target of 8.2 pc growth, we need to increase private investments."

The Prime Minister also said that inclusive growth was important in such difficult times. "The 12th Plan is starting in a year when the world economy is facing difficulties and our economy has also slowed down," Manmohan Singh said.

"We ended the 11th Five Year Plan with some achievements. The economy grew at 7.5 per cent," he said.

Inviting investments for growth in agriculture and other sectors, Manmohan Singh said the country needed a trillion dollar investment.

The Prime Minister's speech defending the diesel price hike and saying risks are required comes a day after the government approved big bang reforms including FDI in aviation and FDI in retail.

Reacting to the Prime Minister's speech, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, "The Prime Minister does not speak the last word. The government is miserably slow and non performing."

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy also criticised the government saying the economy was being mismanaged. "It is basically a mismanaged economy. These are not reforms. The government is clueless about what it has to do," Rudy said.

(With additional information from PTI)

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