But at the same time, he expressed concerns over what he described as nascent protectionism, particularly in agriculture, prevailing in the world.
'' We have concerns about the priorities of the World Trade Organisation and the uneven pursuit of the Doha Round agenda. We have concerns about the lack of transparency in the policies of some countries,'' he said in his keynote address at the 16th Asian Asian Corporate Conference here this evening. '' Yet, we are now ready to face global competition on a level playing field.'' Stating that India' s share in the global flows of goods, services, knowledge and culture has grown in the past decade, Dr Singh said the country's external economic profile is robust and reassuring to investors, at home as well as abroad.
He said '' Our economy has recorded close to 8 per cent annual growth for two years in a row, '' adding the country hope to raise it to the range of 9 to 10 per cent. But he said to realise this goal Indian economy has to become more competitive.
To facilitate faster economic growth, he said the government is committed to creating world class infrastructure, to investing in building human capabilities and to stepping up the rate of growth of investment.
Power is one area where critical gaps persist, the PM said but added government has taken many new initiatives recently to facilitate public-private partnerships in the energy sector.
Apparantly referring to the March 2 spate of agreements, including the civilian nuclear deal, he signed with President George W Bush, the Prime Minister said '' Our recent agreement with the United States should open up new avenues for investment in civilian nuclear power, in non-conventional sources of power, and in clean coal technologies.'' He said the country had also resolved all issues related to the Dabhol power project in Maharashtra which will restart this year.
''We are working on mega power projects to bridge the demand-supply gap,'' he said, adding availability of cheap, environment-friendly, good quality power is an essential ingredient of growth. '' I am confident that with the access to best technologies in the world, we will achieve our goals.'' On his optimism of further accelerating the growht of Indian economy, he said this is based on the fact the country's savings rate is now over 29 per cent of GDP and the investment rate is about 31 per cent of GDP.'' And with a growing young population and as our economy becomes more hospitable to foreign direct investment, we expect a further increase in the investment rate.'' Referring to UPA government's policies relating to investment, taxation, foreign trade, FDI, banking, finance and capital markets, he said all these have evolved to in the last 18 months to make Indian industry and enterprise more competitive globally.
'' We have launched a massive programme for rural and urban renewal which will upgrade our infrastructure. It will generate new incomes and employment, and thereby expand the domestic market.'' '' New policies are in place for enabling public-private partnerships in the modernisation of the roads system, railways, ports, airports, power and the entire urban infrastructure.'' Underlining the need to sustain the telecommunications boom of the past decade, he said the government is working towards '' releasing additional spectrum'' to mobile telephone firms to enable them reach out to underserved regions of rural India. Sector specific mega-investment regions with investments of upto USD 10 billion in each location are being promoted, beginning with chemicals and petrochemicals, and the necessary policy framework for this is being evolved, he added.
He invited investors from all over the world to make investments in the entire energy sector, including petroleum, natural gas, power and captive coal mining.
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