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Accelerating growth: Rangarajan outlines six challenges

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DR C. RANGARAJAN, Chairman, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, flanked by the Minister of State for Personnel and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Suresh Pachouri (right), and the Director of CBI, Mr Vijay Shankar, at the seventh D. P. Kohli Memorial lecture in the Capital on Thursday. — Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , June 1

A day after the Government announced that the economy grew 8.4 per cent in 2005-06, the Chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, Dr C. Rangarajan, outlined six important challenges that need priority attention for the country to sustain and accelerate this growth rate to higher levels. Delivering the seventh D.P. Kohli Memorial lecture on `Economic Growth and Issue of Governance', organised by the CBI, Dr Rangarajan also mooted a two-fold strategy to contain corruption.

He added that combating corruption was critical to improving the quality of life of the people.

The six challenges identified for priority attention are stepping up agriculture growth, infrastructure development, fiscal consolidation, enhancing the quality and reach of primary education and basic health, managing globalisation, and good governance.

On corruption, he said that opportunities for corruption must be reduced.

"This can happen as we carry forward our economic reforms and reduce all forms of controls that result in rent-seeking opportunities," he said.

"Reforms and growth can go hand in hand in reducing opportunities for corruption."

Additionally, Government agencies charged with combating corruption must show an increased determination in identifying corrupt officials and politicians and getting them convicted.

"Unless the conviction rate goes up, indulging in corruption will be treated as a low-risk violation. The issue of `tainted ministers' continues to haunt us without a satisfactory solution."

On post-reform growth performance, he said that it was clear that India has shifted to a higher growth trajectory.

He pointed out that the growth rate was 8.5 per cent in 2003-04, 7.5 per cent in 2004-05, and 8.4 per cent in 2005-06.

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