PM says country has weathered global slowdown better than others

      The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has said the Indian economy has weathered the global slowdown better than other economies. He said this while addressing a function to mark the presentation of MOU Awards and Certificates to public sector undertakings (PSUs) for the years 2006-7 and 2007-08 here last evening. SCOPE (Standing Committee on Public Enterprises) Awards for Excellence and Outstanding Contribution to Public Sector Management were also presented by the Prime Minister on the occasion. Dr. Singh said that the global economic slowdown has shown some signs of moderating. He also mentioned that India has endured and countered the slow down better. "India has weathered the slow down better than most other countries. Ours today happens to be second fastest economy in the world. This is a reflection in large measures of the strength of the Indian economy," he added. He applauded the performance of public sector enterprises in facing local and global competition. In the post reform period, 1990-91 to 2007-08, turnover of public sector enterprises increased nine times and their cumulative net profits grew more than 35 times. "However, he said, individually some enterprises didn't fare well during the period, but India is confident about the ability of its public sector. "Though some of them have not done so well in this period. We have reasons to be confident about the ability of India's public sector to operate in an increasingly open environment and thereby face the challenge of increased competition," he added. He also mentioned that many state-run Indian firms are eager to list their shares on the stock market and it was good for them to do so, a sign that more stake sales were likely in coming months. The Government analysts have expressed hopes the economy to expand by at least 6.3 per cent in 2009-10 as compared with 6.7 per cent last year and 9 per cent or more in between 2005-06 and 2007-08. The government would grant more autonomy to state-run firms and allow them to raise capital so that they could expand operations faster, the Prime Minister said. In July, a government report had forecast that up to 250 billion rupees per annum could be raised from stake sales. Among the PSUs presented with the coveted awards by the Prime Minister were the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the National Building Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC), the Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL), the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the Power Grid Corporation of India, the Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), the Engineers India Limited (EIL), the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), the Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC).

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