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Globalization is both an opportunity and a challenge. PM at ASSOCHAM Annual General Meeting
June, 02nd 2008

INAUGURATING the Annual General Meeting of the ASSOCHAM in New Delhi today, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said,

++ Our country and our people are today better off as a consequence of the steps we took in 1991.

++ The performance of the Indian economy, the improvement in the standard of living of our people and the decline in poverty since 1991, stand testimony to the success of the strategy we adopted at the time.

++ Today we all derive satisfaction and take pride in the achievements of our economy and in the fact that the people of India have risen to the challenge of globalisation in the last two decades in a handsome manner.

++ The world recognizes today that the Indian route to globalisation has been a more stable and sustainable route. We have avoided many of the pitfalls that other developing countries and centrally planned economies got into.

++ I am also happy that in these past 17 years, despite the many changes in Government with different political parties wielding power in Delhi and in the States, there has been no reversal of the processes of economic reform and liberalization.

++ Globalization is both an opportunity and a challenge. In some cases it could also pose a threat to the survival of existing forms of business organizations.

++ In economic and social phenomena, the biblical saying 'to him that hath shall be given' has unfortunately wide applicability.

++ India is too big a country to remain insulated from the processes of globalization. Indeed, through all known history India has been an active participant in the processes of globalization.

++ Many sectors of our economy are today stronger and more competitive than ever before. This is why despite the global slow down and the many global challenges we face our economy is still able to deliver close to 8% growth rate.

++ I am, however, concerned about the impact of rising oil prices, rising commodity prices and the growing threat of protectionism from the developed economies.

++ The processes of globalisation will also be threatened by the rise in global commodity prices, particularly food prices. Many developing countries have been forced to impose controls on commodity exports and increase subsidies on imports.

++ The most important lesson of the 20th Century is that no nation is an island into itself. Building walls and looking inward does not offer a solution to the problems of growth and development.

++ Despite the impressive growth performance many newly industrialized economies and emerging markets, traditional global disparities remained a fact of life. The gap between the per capita income of the developed and developing countries remains.

++ At the same time, we too have our own domestic challenges to grapple with. Our Government is currently focused on reversing the recent upsurge in headline inflation rates. It has been our endeavour to tame inflationary expectations without hurting the rhythm of the growth process and also to protect the weaker sections against rising prices as far as possible.

++ While the Government will remain engaged in stabilizing the macro-economic situation, it will also have to pay due attention to sustaining the long term growth of our economy. We have to learn to husband our fiscal resources. We have to manage our public finances more effectively.

++ The creativity and enterprise of our people will continue to drive our growth process. It will be our effort and endeavour in Government to facilitate this process and provide a supportive policy environment.

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