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September 16, 2000
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India's per-capita to double by 2010, says Vajpayee

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has asserted that India would double its per-capita income in the next ten years, a growth rate of around 9 per cent.

"Although it is a difficult challenge, India can achieve it,'' Vajpayee said while addressing the US-India Business Summit in Washington.

Vajpayee said: "In the last five decades, we have built a strong and resilient India. But we have also drawn lessons for the future. We have thought about the respective roles of the state and the private sector for economic development.''

He said that the first point of change has been to free the government from providing private goods and services and to use its resources to provide public goods. While significant progress has been made, considerable work remains to be done in this direction, he said.

The second initiative, he said, was progressive liberalisation, enabling expansion of business opportunities -- both domestic and foreign.

Enumerating some of the important initiatives undertaken by his government, Vajpayee said that the 13,000-km project of improved and expanded national highways will be completed by 2007. The first component of 7,000 km, involving the four major metros, would be completed by 2003.

Also on the agenda is a massive rural road connectivity programme to connect all the villages -- with population of more than 500 -- with all-weather roads by 2007. An accelerated programme is being worked out to connect villages with population of more than 1000 by 2003, he asserted.

Besides, the deregulation in the area of telecommunications is more or less complete, he said. "We have fully liberalised national long distance, basic telephony and under-sea optical cable. We are considering how best to fully deregulate cellular telephony.''

The prime minister also said that the monopoly of VSNL (Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited) will end by early 2002 and the new Telecom Convergence Bill is in the offing.

He said that his government is placing emphasis on human resource development to support the IT policy. On this count, he lauded the joint efforts of a group of Indian-Americans and University of California, Berkeley, to set up a global institute of science and technology in India.


The Vajpayee Visit: The full coverage


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