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Mar 08, 2013 at 02:54pm IST

Economic reforms initiated by Congress are now followed by NDA, Left: PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday in his address in the Rajya Sabha defended the UPA's record on reforms introduced in the country. Replying to President Pranb Mukherjee's address to the Parliament during the Budget Session, Manmohan said that he agreed with the President that India needs high growth rate to solve the problems of poverty and unemployment.

The Prime Minister said that his government is doing its best to achieve high growth rate and slow growth rate of the country will not stay for long. "President Pranab Mukherjee was right, there is a need for rapid pace of industrialisation. We are proud of taking all the steps to ensuring inclusive growth. I agree that the country needs to grow at eight per cent. We believe that in next two-three years the economy will bounce back. We have every intention to push up the growth rate," said Manmohan.

While addressing the House, Manmohan also praised the UPA government. "Growth rate in the country has been highest since the UPA came to power. There are bound to be difficulties when large sums of money are being spent. But these are problems of growing up. Our policy is based on evolving national consensus, will not do anything that is not in the interest of the country and the people."

Manmohan also spoke about the government's foreign policy and recent issue of war crimes in Sri Lanka. He said, "We want our neighbours to prosper and grow. Our effort will be to work with Sri Lanka to work towards a situation where Tamils can live with dignity there."

The Prime Minister also spoke on Pakistan and said, "Our policy towards Pakistan has been the same since the last nine years and will continue to guide us in the future. There cannot be normalisation with Pakistan until the terror activity within Pakistan against India is not completely stopped."

Emphasising on the need to boost agriculture, Manmohan said that more attention needs to be paid on the development of agriculture. "Wherever there is drought or scarcity of water, we will work with the respective State Government to sort this problem. Growth in agriculture in Madhya Pradesh is also high and we feel happy to see these states, which were backward, growing."

With regards to Nepal, there is uncertainty but we hope the multi-party democracy will survive, said the Prime Minister. He also said that in Maldives there have been unfortunate problems and he hopes the best course is to have elections to the President which is due in September.