New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday held the first meeting of his 77-member Council of Ministers at official residence, days after inducting 17 new faces and elevating five of them to the cabinet rank in a jumbo reshuffle.

The Prime Minister while making his opening remark at the first meeting of the reconstituted Council of Ministers here said, "My own view is that while we need not be unduly gloomy about our prospects, we certainly need to redouble our resolve to meet the challenges before us and rise to the task of governance."

 He recalled the achievements of UPA government in social and economic policy making and its implementation, including flagship schemes like MNREGA and Aadhar number, combined with robust economic growth.

"While we should take justifiable pride in our successes, it is important to recognise that we are now also experiencing the fallout of difficult economic conditions worldwide. As a result, our growth has decelerated, our exports have fallen and our fiscal deficits are expanding. Of particular concern is the fiscal deficit, which is too high and acts as a deterrent for domestic and foreign investment," he said.



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