New Delhi–Observing that significant increase in investment in infrastructure and export promotion was essential to sustain Indias growth rate, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday stressed on the significance of consolidation of public finances, financial stability and employment generation.

Addressing the 111th Annual General Meeting of the PHD Chamber here, he lamented the wide prevalence of hunger and malnutrition and said unless tackled hunger can be major roadblock to India’s growth story.

Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh

“While India is now growing at the annual rate of 7 percent, the sustainability of the growth process would require a significant increase in the rate of investment, particularly in infrastructure sectors as well as the revitalisation of export sector.

“The priority now must not only be to accelerate, but the multi-dimensional aspect of growth, equity, inclusion, employment generation and environmental sustainability,” he said.

Manmohan Singh said the economic policies need to be designed in a manner that the redistributing process does not feed off the public finances and growth process itself is not hampered.

“To achieve this objective, inclusive development needs to be continued with consolidation of public finances, financial stability, employment generation and economic growth and protection of environment,” he said.

“Hunger and malnutrition, if not tackled, can cause a major road block for India to achieve its desired growth.

“India has surplus stocks of food grains and still the largest number of hungry and malnourished people are to be found in our country. It is primarily due to lack of purchasing power and distributive justice,” he said.

The former Prime Minister also stressed on the need for focus on health and higher education and called for the education system to be employment-oriented to address the skill gap within the country.

“Economic growth and macroeconomic stability are necessary for reducing poverty. International experience by and large, shows that countries which are most successful in reducing poverty are the ones which have combined rapid growth with equity in sustain growth. In such a strategy, public policies influence both the distribution of income and the process of income generation,” he said.

“Role of Indian states has become critical to ensure adequate growth enhancing expenditure to press ahead with consolidation process and to push further India’s growth story,” he added. (IANS)