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India needs growth rate of 9 pc to eliminate poverty: President Pranab Mukherjee

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President Pranab Mukherjee today said India will have to raise its growth rate to 8.5-9 per cent annually for the next 15-20 years in order to ensure that poverty is totally eliminated and is not just confined to being alleviated.

He made these comments while interacting with a group of trainee officers from the Indian Economic Service 2014 at Rashtrapati Bhavan here today.

Addressing the trainees, the President said he is proud of what India has achieved and was optimistic about what it can achieve.

“Indian economy has witnessed many ups and downs. From 1951 to 1979, India had an average growth rate of 3.5 per cent which was called the Hindu growth rate. Our economy grew at an average rate of 5 to 5.6 per cent in the 80s. From 1991 onwards, our growth rate rose to an average of 7 per cent.

“Our present growth rate is around 7.6 per cent. But we should not be complacent. We must raise our growth rate to 8.5 to 9 per cent annually for the next 15-20 years if we have to achieve our developmental goals. This will enable poverty elimination and not confine us to poverty alleviation,” he said.

Mukherjee told the young officers that expectations from them are high and a big responsibility rests on their young shoulders.

“The world is moving fast and India has to keep pace. The time available is short but India’s strength is its mighty minds. India needs competent and knowledgeable officials to guide policy making,” he said.

The President told the trainees the service they have joined provides them opportunity to serve the people and country for many years and that they will also have to advise the political executive in policy formulation.

“The Chief Economic Advisor post is generally held by an accomplished economist. The Economic Survey is a highly admired document for its clarity of thought and objectivity,” he said.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, the President said, “Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.”

PTI

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