"This Congress is being organized at a time when the world is beginning to emerge from the second-round impact of the global economic crisis. India too felt the repercussions of global slowdown", Mukherjee said.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the 28th annual Indian Engineering Congress organized by Institute of Engineers here.

"Our economic growth declined during the last two years. At five percent in 2012-13, it was the lowest in the last ten years," he said.

"Our immediate challenge is to reverse the deceleration and nurse our growth path back to the eight percent plus levels often clocked by us in the past," Mukherjee, a former Union Finance Minister, said.

He expressed confidence that India would be able to "secure a faster growth" with some of the positive factors like "continuing rise in per capita incomes, expanding middle-class consumers and young energetic workforce".

Noting that a nation's progress was not guaranteed by its "stock" of natural resources alone, he said "deficiency of natural resource also does not close the gates of prosperity".

The development status of a nation is fashioned by its technological prowess. Japan and Singapore are instances who have developed on "sheer strength of cutting edge technology," he said.

"We have to leverage our knowledge infrastructure to develop growth-inducing technology. We have to make a choice of technologies for development based on socio-economic, environmental and security factors and on availability of resource and infrastructure," he said.
He called upon the community of scientists and engineers to provide technology foresight.

Earlier, Mukherjee received the first copy of a souvenir released by Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah. Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan, State Industries Minister P Thangamani, Institute of Engineers Association President Rathore were also present on the occasion.

(Agencies)

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