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We will achieve 9 per cent growth rate soon: PM

By Our Special Correspondent



The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at a meeting with some representatives of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh-affiliated employees at his residence in New Delhi on Saturday. - Photo: Kamal Narang.

NEW DELHI, FEB. 21. The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today asserted that the country would soon notch up a nine-per cent growth rate. He was addressing a small gathering of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, a sangh parivar affiliate, at his residence.

He criticised the Opposition parties for questioning the Government's claim on all-round growth. "Our growth rate has surprised the world, but the Opposition appears to be confused about it."

Mr. Vajpayee again joined issue with the Leader of the Opposition, Sonia Gandhi, for dubbing his promise of one million jobs a year as mungeri lal ke haseen sapne (`daydreams of Mungeri Lal'). He said his Government not only knew how to dream but also how to fulfil them. Jobs were being created in the road construction and infrastructure projects, he added.

The function was organised to thank the Prime Minister for the NDA Government's decision to merge 50 per cent of the dearness allowance of Central Government employees with their basic pay. The Union Cabinet on Friday formally approved the Union Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh's announcement on this in the interim budget.

PTI reports:

On the delay in the implementation of the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission on the merger of the DA with basic salary, he said this had to be done only after consulting the State Governments.

He said that as it was election time, he could not say much to them except that "the nation was progressing and the figures show this. Even foreigners who come to this country express their appreciation."

The Prime Minister said the economy was growing rapidly with exports rising and the foreign exchange showing an increase. "There is overall satisfaction on the nation's growth. But, there are no dearth of critics who say the Government was wasting money and never seeing the rapid economic progress made by the country."

In an apparent reference to the Congress criticism of the ``feel good'' factor, Mr. Vajpayee said such an attitude was not good for the country.

He said representatives from foreign countries visiting India had appreciated the pace of economic development. "We want to make India a leading developed nation," he said.

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