Jaipur: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) session in Jaipur today. Highlights from his speech:
I have full confidence that this AICC session and the Chintan Shivir will give the Congress a new direction.
We need to project the government's work properly among the people.
We need to reassure our youth that we understand their aspirations and shall meet them.
We have largely fulfilled the promises made in the Congress's 2004 and 2009 manifestos.
We have been trying to bring in inclusive growth. We have been particulalrly focused on the poor and underprivileged.
We have given more emphasis on agriculture and health and education in the rural areas. Our efforts will show big results in the coming years.
Eradicating polio has been a major achievement.
The country's development under NDA was 5.5 per cent. Under UPA, the GDP grew over 8 per cent. We achieved this during global economic recession.
If we compare the UPA and NDA regimes, our poverty alleviation rate is 2.5 times theirs. During NDA regime, agricultural growth was 3 per cent. We have increased it to 3.7 per cent over the past eight years.
The benefits of growth can be seen in the growth of per capita rural consumption as well - between 94-95 & 2004-05 this was 0.8 per cent. In the past eight years, that has increased six times - a testimony to our inclusive growth.
Our growth has slowed down of late but it's still far better than in other countries.
We need to have an effective communication strategy so inform the people of our achievements.
Often people are unaware that the schemes they benefit from have been introduced by the Centre. Non-Congress state governments take credit for policies of the UPA government.
Our youth, especially in urban areas, is highly aspirational. It is our responsibility to understand their aspirations and meet them on priority.
Price rise has been our challenge. Some of the reasons for this are the high price of crude oil in the international market. We need to fight inflation.
We have introduced several schemes for the development of backward sections and women. But we must also understand that making laws is one thing and implementing them is another.
The country debated the security of women after the recent gangrape of a woman in Delhi. We must not forget that women's participation in our economy is critical.
I have already said that it is important to ensure women's security in public places; we are ready to bring any law that ensures women's security. But we also need to change social mindsets.
It is true we have a long way to go to achieve gender equality.
Why is it that the people don't know about our govt's achievements? One reason is that we have not spoken about these much.
Our efforts have ensured an end of India's isolation by the nuclear powers. The results of this will be for everyone to see in the coming years.
Peace and stability are key to foreign policy. Pakistan committed an inhuman act on the LoC on January 8. We have told Pakistan that this could affect bilateral relations.
We want good ties, but Pakistan too needs to take steps in that direction.
We have to improve the abilities of our youth through education and skilled training.
By 2016-17, we should be able to achieve an economic growth of 9 per cent.
In the 12th Plan, we are focusing on planned urban development. We are making improvements in the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Development Mission for that.
In our growth, we will clearly emphasise on environmental concerns.
Our policies will benefit only when they are implemented properly.
To reduce corruption in government work and increase accountability, we have taken many steps.
We understand the anger of the people. Whenever we have been found at fault, we have taken strict action against the culprits.
Our government is committed to a strong Lokpal bill, and we will be successful.
The Congress has a history we can be proud of. Despite poverty, India is making great strides globally, and the Congress has made this possible.
Unlike many political parties, we believe in secularism and development for all sections of the society.
Only the Congress understands the needs of the country and knows how to solve its problems.
As I see it, the Jaipur meeting has reaffirmed the commitment of the Congress to its core values: inclusive development, empowerment of women and their safety, meeting the challenges of urbanisation, improving quality of governance, curbing corruption, pursuit of foreign policy based on protecting our national interests.
If the Congress moves ahead with this agenda, I do not see why the Congress will not capture the hearts of minds and people again.
With the leadership of Soniaji and Rahulji, we shall deliver.