India fastest growing amongst major world economies: President Mukherjee

| Updated: Jan 26, 2017 01:50 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 25 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that India is the fastest growing amongst the major economies of the world. Addressing the nation on the eve of the 68th Republic Day, President Mukherjee said, "We are the second largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower, the third largest army, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the sixth member in the race for space, and the tenth largest industrial power." "From a net food grains importing country, India is now a leading exporter of food commodities. The journey so far has been eventful, sometimes painful, but most of the times, exhilarating," he added. He also said that India's economy has been performing well despite the challenging global economic conditions. "In the first half of 2016-17, it grew at a rate of 7.2 percent - same as that last year - showing sustained recovery," he said. "We are firmly on the path of fiscal consolidation and our inflation level is within comfort zone. Though our exports are yet to pick up, we have managed a stable external sector with sizeable foreign exchange reserves," he added. The President also batted strongly for simultaneous elections to Parliament and Assemblies, the issue which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has focused its attention. "Yet, we need more and not less of democracy. The strength of our democracy is evidenced by the fact that over 66 percent of the total electorate of 834 million voted in the 2014 General Elections," he said. "The depth and breadth of our democracy sparkles in the regular elections being held in our panchayati raj institutions. And yet, our legislatures lose sessions to disruptions when they should be debating and legislating on issues of importance. Collective efforts must be made to bring the focus back to debate, discussion and decision-making," he added. The President further said that as India' republic enters her 68th year, we must acknowledge that our systems are not perfect. "The imperfections have to be recognized and rectified. The settled complacencies have to be questioned. The edifice of trust has to be strengthened. The time is also ripe for a constructive debate on electoral reforms and a return to the practice of the early decades after independence when elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies were held simultaneously," he said. He asked the Election Commission to carry forward the idea of simultaneous polls in consultation with political parties. "It is for the Election Commission to take this exercise forward in consultation with political parties," he said. (ANI)