Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said serious efforts are on to make the country free of terrorism and communal tension to achieve nine per cent growth rate and increase foreign investments.
He said the last 14 months have not seen any terror attacks or communal violence, resulting in economic growth and benefits to all sections of society. There had been some "lapses" in the UPA government's first tenure, but the "second innings" had seen major economic growth. "This year growth is expected to be around 7.75 to 8 per cent," he said at a Congress party function at Kuniamuthur on the city outskirts tonight.
India's proactive economic policies had seen it withstand global recession and the nation has great opportunity to become the fastest growing economic power. The world appreciated the economic policies being followed in the country, he said. He said the UPA would guarantee education and food by the end of its present tenure.
The government, after examining the Sachar Committee report, wanted Muslims to have proportionate number of jobs, including in the military and paramilitary, "since Islam and Christianity are not alien religions, but Indian like Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism," Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram said various schemes implemented by the UPA-I between 2004-2009 resulted in increase in Lok Sabha seats of the Congress from 145 to 206 in the last election. Highlighting the achievements of the government, he said the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) has been well received by people in rural areas.
"Agricultural labourers, who were sitting idle for six months now have guaranteed income during the period," he said. Nearly 16 lakh students, particuarly sons and daughters of coolies and auto drivers, have availed Rs 26,000 crore loans in the last three years, he said.