New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday presented the report card of UPA-II as the government completed its third year in power.
Here is the full text of the Prime Minister's speech:
In 2009, the people of India gave the United Progressive Alliance a renewed mandate for continuing its agenda of building a modern, secular and plural India. They reaffirmed their faith in our policies aimed at bringing about balanced and inclusive social and economic growth in the country and providing equal opportunities to each and every citizen to live a life of dignity and fulfillment.
I have great pleasure in presenting the Report to the People for the year 2011-12, which highlights what the government has done for the people in the third year of its term and some of the emergent challenges that face the government and the nation.
In the last year we have worked hard to live up to the people's expectation, as we did in the preceding seven years. We have made good progress in the goals that we have set for ourselves. There is evidence that poverty is declining faster than it did before the UPA took charge. Real agricultural wages are increasing faster than before. Agricultural growth has accelerated and we have a record foodgrain production.
The Indian economy has weathered what has been a very difficult year for the world economy. Most countries slowed down and many have experienced social upheaval. We too slowed down, but our growth in 2011-12, at around 7 per cent, remains one of the highest in the world.
Notwithstanding the difficulties that we are facing, I am convinced that we will prove the doomsayers who claim that India's economy is in retreat wrong, as we have often done in the past. We should keep the faith in the hard work, ingenuity and resilience of our farmers, workers, industrialists, engineers and scientists.
Our first priority has been to ensure the economic security and well being of our people. We have pursued this objective by enhancing funds for agriculture, rural development and the social sectors, and extending other facilities to the common man. Let me give you some noteworthy examples of what we have done.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme now reaches one
of every five households in the country annually and more than 5 crore accounts have so far been opened in over 97,000 post offices in our villages through the scheme.
More than 30 lakh additional residents in rural and tribal areas were covered under Rural Postal Life Insurance during last year.
Our large investments in the health sector are yielding results. Health indicators such as Infant Mortality Rate and Total Fertility Rate showed continuous decline. The number of institutional deliveries has gone up. No wild polio case has been reported since January 2011 and the WHO has removed India from the list of polio-endemic countries.
We have made a commitment to increase healthcare funding to 2.5 per cent of the national GDP by the end of the next Five Year Plan.
Our focus on education has led to the building of nearly 5 lakh new classrooms and opening of more than 51,000 new primary and upper primary schools in the country.
Additionally, 6.8 lakh teachers have been appointed during the last 2 years.
More than 20 crore people have enrolled through multiple registrars under the Unique Identification Authority of India. This will enable them to claim public service facilities in a transparent manner.
Support prices to farmers have been increased substantially and our farmers have
responded magnificently by producing record crops of wheat, rice, cotton and pulses.
Food stocks are today at record levels in our history.
More than Rs 2 lakh crore were disbursed to 2.75 crore marginal and small farmers as loans.
The robust services sector of the economy continues to achieve a growth rate of above 9 per cent providing good quality jobs. India remained the second fastest growing Telecom market in the world with nearly 10 crore new telephone connections added during last year, including more than 4 crore in rural areas.
More than 62,000 villages were connected with Village Public Telephones during the year.
The value of output of the Information Technology sector crossed a milestone of $100 billion this year. Under our e-Governance plan, more than 1 lakh villages are now part of Common Service Centres for easy electronic delivery of public services.
But we are conscious that there is much that we need to do if we are to sustain the strong growth rates we have seen in the services sector. There is a huge shortage of adequately skilled manpower on the horizon. We have to work quickly to scale up the higher education and skill development infrastructure to produce the quality and quantity of manpower required to support the projected expansion of key sectors like information technology.
Energy security and the pattern of energy use are critical issues for a rapidly growing economy such as ours. We are trying to expand our capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand. We provided 34 lakh new BPL electricity connections and electrified around 8,000 villages during the year 2011-12. We added new power generation capacity of about 20,000 MW during 2011-12 which is a record and almost equal to the capacity added during the entire Tenth Five Year Plan.
Our refinery sector has shown phenomenal growth. Two new refineries came on line in Bina and Bhatinda and refining capacity of about 25 MMTPA was added during the year, increasing the total capacity to about 213 MMTPA.
We are conscious of the long term need to shift to a pattern of energy use that is sustainable and preserves our environment and ecological harmony. Expanding clean and renewable energy sources is a key action area in our energy security strategy.
The total installed capacity of renewable power connected to our grids has reached about 25,000 MW, of which 5,000 MW was added during the year, again a record for a year. We are harnessing wind, solar and bio-power as never before. These efforts are helping us light up small hamlets and villages in remote corners of our country without harming the environment. We will continue these efforts and expand them.
The UPA government's initiative to break the international shackles on our nuclear programme is yielding dividends. The year saw the highest ever generation of nuclear power and nuclear fuel production also reached a record high. Seven new nuclear power stations are under construction. The government is totally committed to enforcing the highest international standards of safety and security in our nuclear plants. The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill 2011 has been introduced in Parliament.
Our efforts to expand opportunities for empowerment and employment of Scheduled
Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and women are the bedrock of our policies of inclusive growth. We have intensified monitoring of the many schemes that affirmatively support such efforts.
The year marked major milestones in the indigenous development of advanced technology by our scientific community. The flawless test launch of the Agni-V long range ballistic missile and the successful fabrication and launch of the all-weather imaging RISAT-1 satellite were historic achievements that made the nation proud yet again of its scientific community.
The country's internal and external security environment has by and large been
satisfactory. Levels of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, in Naxal affected areas and in the North East have been under control. In Jammu and Kashmir, Panchayat elections were held peacefully after a long gap. People turned out in large numbers to vote and reaffirm their faith in the democratic process. In the North East, the government has been able to bring a number of groups into the democratic mainstream. We are continuously working with state governments facing Left Wing Extremist threats. Incidents of violence in areas affected by
such activities and the number of fatalities are declining.
However, we have to be eternally vigilant and remain one step ahead of our adversaries who continually threaten our peaceful way of life. Our external relations grew apace with our increasing interactions with the world and
our growing global stature. We dealt with myriad global challenges as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The success of the Fourth BRICS Summit in India illustrated the potential for multi-faceted cooperation among emerging economies.
Our concerted efforts to improve relations with all our neighbours continued to bear rich dividends, while our relations with the major powers remained strong and vibrant. We also enhanced our development partnership activities with fellow developing countries, particularly in Africa.
Let me assure you that the government is very conscious that the people of the country demand and deserve much greater transparency and accountability in governance. I want to assure the nation that the UPA government is committed to reduce corruption and harassment of ordinary citizens in government offices.
We have brought in an array of legislative and administrative measures to achieve this task.
A comprehensive 'Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011' was passed by the Lok Sabha in December and awaits passage in the Rajya Sabha. 'The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill 2011' to provide protection to whistle-blowers was passed by the Lok Sabha.
'The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill' will make the Citizens' Charter statutory and endow the public with the right to delivery of goods and services within a reasonable time.
India ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in May, 2011. With a view to ensuring full compliance with this Convention, 'The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill 2011' was introduced in the Lok Sabha.
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha, will help streamline our overburdened judicial system and hasten delivery of justice.
The country faces difficult times. There are uncertainties in the global economy and an adverse external economic environment. There are pressures on our balance of payments and fiscal position which we have to manage carefully.
We need to find practical ways of reconciling the imperatives of industrial growth with the concerns and fears of local communities. We need to take hard decisions that will help preserve the environment for future generations and the sustainability of our growth. Many challenges remain on the internal security front and the Union and the States have to strengthen coordination to modernise the methods, technologies and systems with which we deal with security challenges. We have to work to build a peaceful periphery where our neighbours see their prosperity in our own.
In all these national endeavours, I seek the cooperation and support of the people, the States and all political parties. As we step into the ninth year of our government, I pledge that we will work with renewed vigour to carry forward our unfinished agenda to empower every Indian, to spread prosperity to every household and to sow the seeds of a brighter future in every village and town of India.