New Delhi: Defending his government’s economic policies on Wednesday in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that inclusive growth is the prime focus of the government.

Speaking on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address he said, “Current account deficit is substantially higher than we would like it to be.”

He counted major economic decisions and achievements of his government while addressing the House.

He expressed confidence that India's slow down in economy will not persist and that the country will return to the growth rate of 7-8 per cent in next two years. “India's economic slowdown will not persist; we are determined to bring the country back to the growth path of 8 percent,” he added.

“Poverty has declined at the rate of 20 percent annually in UPA's regime. India's growth rate impressive as compared to the BRIC nations,” he said. “Efforts needed to boost growth; promises to work for promotion of investments,” he added.

“Agriculture growth expected to be higher than 1.8 percent projected during the current fiscal,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister further criticised the BJP for using "choicest abuses" against the Congress leadership at its National Council meet saying, "BJP’s ‘India Shining’ campaign was a big disaster." He hit out at the opposition for trying to belittle UPA government's achievements.

In an apparent reference to Narendra Modi's attack on Congress as "termites" and him as a "night watchman" at the BJP National Council meeting in Delhi on Sunday, he said the party hurled the "choicest abuses" against the Congress leadership and made it clear he would not reply to them in "that language".

"I am confident that the people will again elect us in the next elections based on our performance,"  the Prime Minister said amidst repeated thumping of desks by the treasury benches. "Jo garajte hain, woh baraste nahi (Thunderous clouds do not bring showers)," he said taking a dig at  BJP's use of strong words of criticsm. The Prime Minister said "You (BJP) used choicest abuses against us. It is not my intention to reply in that language because our performance is the best judge."

The Prime Minister also assured the House that his government will take necessary steps to ensure women’s safety.

He also admitted problems on account of water management, saying that his government will bring National Water Framework Law for this.

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The Prime Minister also expressed concern over the political instability in Maldives and hoped that it will have "free, fair and credible" elections in September, which India would support. With Maldives witnessing a tussle between the Waheed government and former President Mohammed Nasheed, Singh said India wants all stakeholders in the island nation to resolve the issues "through dialogue". He said that India would work closely to strengthen the relations with the island nation.

"We remain concerned about critical political instability in Maldives. It is our hope that Maldives will have free, fair and credible elections in September to elect their President," Singh said replying to the debate on Motion of Thanks on the Presidential address.

"India will support all efforts to ensure free, fair and credible elections...We are closely monitoring the developments. We will work closely to strengthen our relations with Maldives," the Prime Minister said.

Singh asked all stakeholders in Maldives to resolve the issues "through dialogue". He noted that the election commission in Maldives has announced that Presidential polls would be held in September.

His comments came a day after Nasheed was arrested on Tuesday less than a fortnight after he left the Indian High Commission in Male where he was holed up for 11 days to evade arrest in a case concerning the detention of the Chief Criminal Judge during his Presidency. Nasheed was released by the court on Wednesday.

(JPN/Agencies)

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