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Poverty declines: Manmohan

NEW DELHI, Jul 31, 2013, DHNS : 3:26 IST

Per capita consumption in rural areas rises, says PM

Amid a raging debate over poverty benchmark and the number of poor people in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday said poverty is declining. Per capita consumption has also increased, he said.

"Poverty is falling fast even though there are disputes going on among professional colleagues about the pace of change. Per capita consumption in real terms in rural areas has increased four times faster from 2004-05 than it did earlier,” Singh said here after releasing a book, “An Agenda for India's Growth: Essays in Honour of P Chidambaram.”

He also said the erstwhile BIMARU states are doing much better.

Singh, however, said to revive overall economic growth, the government will have to act “boldly and decisively”.

“I do not underestimate the task before us. As the twelfth plan points out, our preferred scenario of strong inclusive growth at an average rate of 8 per cent per year will not come from business as usual policies. We have to act boldly and decisively,” he said.

“We must view this as a short term deceleration. Our government is determined to once again accelerate the pace of change. Once again, we will prove the naysayers and Cassandras of doom wrong,” the prime minister said.

The government has to deal with macro economic imbalances and major challenges in key sectors such as energy, water and land.

Parliamentary majority alone is not enough to pursue reforms as there are differences within parties, Singh said. For reforms to be credible, it is necessary that a wide cross-section of the society should understand the need for and accept, the policy changes that a government wishes to make, he said.

"In a democracy, reform, be it of economic policy or of institutions, is essentially a political process. We have to build a sufficiently wide political consensus in favour of the policies we wish to adopt," the prime minister added.

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