Alluding to the downturn in the Eurozone , Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said India needs an aggregate growth rate of 8 per cent per annum and stressed that although it won't be easy, it is also not unattainable.
Speaking at the Combined Commanders' Conference, the prime minister said India needs an aggregate growth rate of 8 per cent per annum to create new jobs for more than 10 million persons who will enter the labour force each year.
"This is not going to be an easy task, given the international economic environment. However, it is not unattainable if we make determined efforts to increase our investment rate to 37-38 per cent, as was the case three years ago," Singh said.
"The continuing uncertainty and weaknesses in the Eurozone economies have hobbled the pace of growth, including in Asian economies. Inevitably, India too has had to deal with the fallout of slowing growth, falling exports and expanding deficits," the prime minister said.
As a shield against the festering downturn, Singh strongly pitched for creating "an environment conducive for increased investment and savings rates", and called for devoting particular attention to investment in infrastructure sectors.
"Simultaneously, we have to work hard to improve the environment of internal security, ensuring communal harmony and control over disruptive forces such as terrorism, insurgency and left wing extremism. Our government remains committed to the achievement of these objectives," he added.
Against the backdrop of India's growing economy, the prime minister stressed on "protecting our new-found equities".
"For example, an expansion of our exports and a diversification of their destinations will call for equal measures to protect them from threats such as piracy. The security of our sea lanes would be equally vital in ensuring our energy security and access to other vital natural resources," he said.