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Treat slow growth rate as national security issue: PM


"The time has now come to view the issues which affect our developmental processes as matters of national security" as the pace of growth has been severely hit by the lack of political consensus on many issues, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Independence Day speech on Wednesday.


"I believe that we are not being able to achieve this," Singh said in an apparent response to the charges of policy paralysis against his government in his ninth consecutive August 15 address as Prime Minister.


Singh promised his government would work hard for rapid economic growth despite the difficult global situation.


"You are aware that these days, the global economy is passing through a difficult phase … Also there have been domestic developments which are hindering our economic growth," Singh said.


Singh, who has had the longest tenure as Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, said the country had achieved 6.5% growth in gross domestic product last year (2011-12) and hoped to do a "little better" this year.


He stressed controlling inflation and admitted that a bad monsoon this year would pose some difficulties in handling the price situation.


Without referring to the controversies that surrounded the last days of the former army chief, General VK Singh, earlier this year, the Prime Minister said the government valued the sacrifices made by soldiers in defending the country.


Singh said the government had set up a committee to examine the issues concerning the salary and pension of the armed forces.


In an indirect reference to the recent agitations by activists Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, the Prime Minister said the government had made good progress during the past one year in making itself transparent and accountable.


He, however, sounded a note of caution about anti-corruption laws.


"We will also take care that these measures do not result in a situation in which the morale of public functionaries taking decisions in public interest gets affected because of baseless allegations and unnecessary litigation."


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