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President calls for increasing GDP growth rate to eliminate poverty

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday called for increasing the country’s GDP growth rate to over 8.5 percent over the next two decades to achieve the task of eliminating poverty.

Speaking to a group of officer trainees of the Indian Economic Service 2014 (II), who called on him, the president said the service they have joined provides them an opportunity to serve the people and country for many years.

He said the officers will have to advise the political executive in the formulation of policies and noted that the post of chief economic advisor is generally held by an accomplished economist.

The president said the economic survey is a highly admired document for its clarity of thought and objectivity.

Mukherjee said he feels proud of what India has achieved and is optimistic about what it can achieve and noted that the Indian economy has witnessed many ups and downs.

“From 1951 to 1979, India had an average growth rate of 3.5 percent which was called the Hindu Growth Rate. Our economy grew at an average rate of 5 to 5.6 percent in the decade of 1980s. From 1991 onwards, our growth rate rose to an average of seven percent,” the president said.

“Our present growth rate is around 7.6 percent. But we should not be complacent. We must raise our growth rate to 8.5 to nine percent annually for the next 15-20 years if we have to achieve our developmental goals. This will enable poverty elimination and not confine us to poverty alleviation,” he said.

An official release said the president told the young officers that the expectations from them were high and a heavy responsibility rests on their young shoulders.

“The world is moving fast and India has to keep pace. The time available is short but India’s strength is its mighty minds. India needs competent and knowledgeable officials to guide policy making,” the president said.

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