'Rural development top priority'

'Rural development top priority'

India is a haven of stability, says Pranab Mukherjee

'Rural development top priority'

 President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said India has emerged as a ‘haven of stability’ in an otherwise turbulent global economy.

It is growing at a faster clip, and job creation is getting a boost through initiatives like Make in India, Startup India, Mudra and Skill India.

Addressing the Joint Sitting of Parliament at the beginning of the Budget session, he said all macro economic parameters such as inflation, fiscal deficit and current account deficit have come down and the government was taking reform measures.

“India is a haven of stability in an increasingly turbulent global economy. GDP growth has increased, making India the world’s growing economy among large economies. Inflation, fiscal deficit and current account deficit have all decreased. India recorded the highest ever foreign exchange reserves in 2015,” he said.

Setting the tone for the upcoming Budget next week, Mukherjee said rural development was one of the top priorities of the government.

“Rural development is one of our top priorities. The grant of over Rs 2 lakh crore by the 14th Finance Commission over a five-year period from 2015-16, exclusively for gram panchayats has been received with great enthusiasm by the states. This will move development activity closer to the people and enable them to decide how they want to improve their villages and wards,” he said.

Mukherjee also mentioned farmers and their well-being several times in his speech, prompting analysts to conclude that the focus of the Budget this year will be on  the rural and farm sector that is in distress due to low productivity and lower demand.