Kolkata: Asserting that one should not feel "despondent" and "disappointed" at the current difficulties before the Indian economy, President Pranab Mukherjee called for collective efforts to overcome the problems and convert them into advantages.

"It is true we are passing through difficult times. But I do not feel we should feel despondent and disappointed. Rather we should try to overcome the difficulties by our collective efforts," Mukherjee said at a felicitation organised for him by six chambers of commerce in Kolkata.

He said while high inflationary pressures, high current account deficit and fiscal deficit, and low growth are areas of concerns, it should not lead to a sense of despondency.

In a lookback on India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth since the beginning of the first Five Year Plan in 1951, he said the country experienced an average annual GDP growth of 3.5 percent between the 1950s and 1970s, while the figure shot up to 5.6 percent in the 1980s and further increased to over six percent in the 1990s.

"After the economic reforms were introduced in the early 90s and various measures taken between 2003-04 to 2011-12, the average growth in these nine years was 8.7 percent. It is not a disappointing picture.

"It is equally true that during the nine years we had two major financial crises. Despite the serious interruption in 2008-09, the GDP growth rate in was 6.7 percent in 2008-09. We could turn it around in 2009-10 and 2010-122 when we recorded a GDP growth of 8.7 percent.

"Except China and a couple of other emerging countries no other country achieved this level," he said at the programme held at the Indian Chamber of Commerce auditorium.

Refering to the Eurozone crisis, the president said in a globalised world, one could not isolate the country's economy from the positive and negative impacts of the happenings in other parts of the world.

"We used to send 35 to 36 percent of our exports to Europe. We had diversified - both in terms of the basket of exports and destination. But it will take some more time to square up to one third of our exports," he said.

The president said in 2008-09 and subsequent years, the central government injected almost three percent of the GDP amounting to Rs.1,86,000 crore as economic stimulus.

"This had an impact. There was inflationary pressure coupled with short supply of critical agricultural inputs," he said, but reiterated his conviction that the Indian growth narrative was not negative, but positive.

Exuding optimism, he said in the times ahead the country will arrive at its destination by becoming a land of growth where the "fruits of development will reach every individual to every part of the country".


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