Saying that the government was committed to maintaining high growth with low inflation, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today announced that steps will be taken to extend support to sectors hit by the global recession and enhance allocations to health, education and infrastructure, "My government will focus attention on sectors that are adversely affected (by the global slowdown) especially Small and Medium Enterprises, exports, textiles, commercial vehicles, infrastructure and housing," Ms Patil said in her address to the joint session of Parliament.
The President said the government will re-capitalise the public sector banks and the insurance sector in "order to permit them to serve the needs of the society better." While most state-owned banks meet the Basel 11 norms, which are to become mandatory internationally soon, the government plans to infuse fresh capital in some banks to ensure that their CRAR (capital base) is firmly sound and healthy.
"My government is firmly committed to maintaining high growth and low inflation, particularly in relation to essential agricultural and industrial commodities. It will steadfastly observe fiscal responsibility so that the ability of the Centre to invest in social and economic infrastructure is continously enhanced. This will require that all subsidies reach only to the truly needy and poor sections of society. A national consensus will be created on the issue and necesssary policy changes implemented," she said.
The President said high growth was necessary to provide resources to provide the government the capacity to expand opportunities for employment. It was necessary to provide increased outlays in education, healthcare and infrastructure to meet the needs of "all regions and all people", she said.
Experts believe that the government's agenda unveiled by the President will find its place in the Budget to be presented in the first week of July.