Bullish on an economic growth rate of 8.5 per cent in the past seven years of its rule, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on Sunday said high prices still remain a major concern and hinted at more steps to contain inflation, especially for the poor and vulnerable sections.
Presenting its annual report card for the year 2010-11, the government said it would seek to contain food inflation through measures for higher production of various agriculture products, while minimising the impact of high fuel prices on 'poor and vulnerable' of the society.
At the same time, the government presented a bullish stance on the state of economy and pegged the average growth rate between 2004-05 and 2010-11 at 8.5 per cent and said it was determined to take India to the select league of "middle income countries".
In the report card being presented every year ever since UPA government came to power in 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also said the government has taken many steps to improve production of agriculture commodities to contain inflation and intends to take more steps in future.
"Food inflation was a major concern in 2010-11," Singh, said, while adding that various measures were taken by the government to address the problem.
Noting that high fuel prices reflected the global trends, the government said that it was committed to ensuring availability of cooking fuels to the common man at affordable prices.
While prices of petrol and diesel will be market determined, the overall impact on the poor and the vulnerable was being minimised, it said.
Singh said that the economy grew at an unprecedented 8.5 per cent growth rate from 2004-05 to 2010-11, despite a severe global financial crisis in 2008-09.
Noting that rapid and broad-based economic growth was essential for inclusive development, Singh said India was today widely seen as poised to embark on a sustained high growth path of the type achieved by a handful of countries.
"We are determined to deliver on this promise so that India moves rapidly into the ranks of middle income countries, free of the burden on poverty, ignorance and disease that has held us down for so long," he said.
As per World Bank classifications, India is ranked among lower-middle income economies along with countries like Sri Lanka, China, Pakistan, Iraq and Indonesia.
Countries like the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany and Japan are ranked as high-income economies, and those like Brazil, Malaysia, Mauritius, Turkey and South Africa are upper-middle income economies. .
In the annual report card, Singh further said the government would look to chart an economic growth process that was "socially inclusive and regionally balanced. "We will endeavour to reduce inequities and inequalities that exist in our country," he added.
The government said it has also simplified its foreign direct investment policy and steps have been taken towards an improved taxation environment through Direct Tax Code and Goods & Services Tax regimes.
While listing out growth in various sectors of the economy, the government also said it was promoting people's ownership of PSUs through its disinvestment programme.
It also said that efforts have continued to strengthen the country's energy and infrastructure sectors, which have been identified as key areas for the India's economic growth.
The government also said that it would seek to encourage "responsible corporate behaviour" through the Companies Bill, 2009.
"The bill incorporates a number of investor protection measures and it will encourage responsible corporate behaviour through innovative provisions of law," it added.
About the public sector enterprises, the government said that they were are likely to earn an aggregate annual profit of Rs 5,551 crore during 2010-11.
The 32 operating public sector enterprises (PSEs), under the Department of Heavy Industry, have achieved an aggregate turnover of over Rs 45,219 crore in the 2010-11 showing a growth of 13.02 per cent.
It further said that out of 16 sick or loss making PSEs, whose restructuring was approved, with a total financial assistance of Rs 8,293.48 crore, as many as eight have started earning profits.
In order to revive the sick companies, the government has taken various steps which include setting up of the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE).