Hosting dinner party at his residence to celebrate the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance II's (UPA-II) completion of three years in power, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh released the government's annual report to the people in the presence of the leaders of the Congress party's key allies. The PM admitted that his government needs to do better.
Political leaders who attended the dinner include Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) TR Baalu, senior Congressman Karan Singh, Finance Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister of Home Affairs P Chidambaram, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress' Saugata Roy and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Yadav.
The presence of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at the party raised many eyebrows as SP is not an ally of the UPA. However, as reported by IBTimes, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and DMK supremo M Karunanidhi did not attend the dinner party.
In his speech on the third anniversary of UPA-II government, Manmohan Singh stressed on the need of the government to do better.
"I will be the first to say we need to do better. But let no one doubt that we have achieved much," he said.
"Despite an adverse international economic environment, the Indian economy grew by about 7 percent in 2011-12, which is amongst the highest in the world," he added.
Highlighting the decline in poverty at twice the rate witnessed in the previous government, the PM said that the UPA government has been working towards the upliftment of the economically marginalized section of the society.?
"There have been notable successes in agriculture. The agricultural growth rate has risen to 3.3% per annum in the 11th Five Year Plan as against 2.3% per annum in the 10th Five Year Plan. Rural wages have also increased. Farmers have been given handsome prices for their crops. This year has seen record foodgrain production, crossing 250 million tonnes for the first time in our history," he said.
Manmohan Singh also highlighted achievements of the UPA government like providing loans to the farmers, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), growth in telecom market, launch of the Agni-5 long range ballistic missile and several other achievements.
The PM also admitted that his government needs to attend to the unfinished agenda firmly.
"Difficult decisions have to be taken on both spending and revenue mobilisation. Both the Centre and the States have to be fiscally responsible. We also have to remove implementation bottlenecks that are preventing large projects from getting off the ground," he said.
"Some people have questioned the sustainability of our growth process. I am confident we will prove the skeptics wrong," said the PM, adding, " We know there is public frustration and anger on the issue of corruption. I wish to assure our people that we are working sincerely to address this issue through both legislative and administrative measures. Legislation is before Parliament to establish a Lokpal, ensure time-bound delivery of public goods and services and judicial accountability."
He also pledged that the UPA government will work with renewed determination to pursue national tasks.