The National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party notes with a sense of satisfaction India's journey towards becoming one of the largest economies in the world. The leadership provided by the National Democratic Alliance government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the last 5 years has unleashed the real potential of the Indian economy. In the year 2003 it is competing for the third place in terms of GDP in purchasing power parity terms. It is amongst the two fastest growing economies in the world after China. This year despite the backdrop of global slow down, despite the worst drought during the last 20 years which we witnessed in 2002-2003, the Indian economy looks poised towards an accelerated rate of growth close to 7 per cent.
The impetus received by the Indian economy has been on account of stability in polity, stability in governance and stability in policy provided by the leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The reforms have been focused and purposeful. They have lifted millions out of stagnation and poverty. They have brought about revolutionary structural changes. They have made our economy competitive.
In a nutshell the NDA Government has successfully given priority to the resolution of the major problems that have plagued the Indian economy since Independence. These were problems of food, shortage, balance of payments, deficits, the steep rise of prices, and poor infrastructure. The NDA Government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee has addressed these problems and achieved notable success in resolving them. The BJP National Executive is proud of the performance of the NDA Government.
The country had during the first four and a half decades of Independence suffered an economy of shortages. Even for our daily staple cereals we depended on imports from outside. Our infrastructure was underdeveloped. Even social sectors suffered neglect. Growth rates were pathetically low and the rate of elimination of poverty was minimal. The last few years have seen a sea change in each of these areas.
In Agriculture, we are today an economy of surpluses. India is the largest producer of milk in the world. Last year we were the second largest exporter of rice in the world. And yet we protected our markets in view of the historically fragile condition of our farmers. To improve upon that, the Government has launched several innovative schemes. Rural road connectivity for every village under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the Kisan Credit Cards, the largest ever subsidy to our farmers amounting to Rs. 27750 crores, the recent decision to lower interest rates for farmers for credit against crops to 9%; farmer friendly programmes such as the crop insurance scheme have protected many a farmer against uncertainty; initiatives such as the setting up of cold storage facilities will spur the food processing industry, and thereby multiply farmers' incomes manifold.
Apart from a vigorous and integrated domestic market, the welfare of the Indian farmer who produces a surplus depends upon his access to the global market which has been hitherto denied to him on account of excessive subsidies given by the developed countries. The Government has actively campaigned uncompromisingly against these subsidies. The year 2002-2003 witnessed agricultural and allied product exports totaling Rs.21,704.46 crores. This is in addition to the increased exports in marine products.
The Indian Services sector has witnessed unleashing of the knowledge power of India as never before. The talent and innovativeness of Indians - in particular of our youth - have made a mark across the world. In Information Technology, India has acquired a commanding position. In fields such as Biotechnology, super-speciality health services, drugs and pharmaceuticals, the Indian impact is being felt globally. For the first time in history developed countries are apprehensive of losing jobs to India. Today, services contribute 50% of the GDP. A series of higher educational institutions have come up in the country. The intake capacity of IITs has been doubled. India is moving towards becoming a global health centre. Patients from far off regions are now traveling to India for treatment. The reverse flow has almost stopped.
A major focus of the NDA government has been on the infrastructure sector which was neglected in the first four decades after Independence. The National Highway scheme is integrating the whole nation. The Rural Road connectivity links villages to the mainstream. Our sea ports are more efficient with higher productivity and capacity than ever before. For the first time in history, berths are waiting for ships rather than ships waiting for berths. Our tele-density which during the first 49 years of Independence reached a pathetic 0.8 % has climbed up by 600% in the last 5 years. Queues for ration have disappeared. Antyodaya Anna Yojana covering 1.5 crores poorest among poor families is the largest food security programme in the world. No government in the world has made food available to over 75 million people at Rs.2 and Rs. 3 per kilogram of wheat and rice. The rest of the world is scarcely able to believe that a monthly ration for 75 million people is available at a cost of 3 $ per family. Preparatory work to inter-link our rivers has commenced. Every step towards its completion will bring immense relief to Indian farmers. The Housing sector has received the strongest boost in the past 5 years. There is strong revival in steel and cement. The last 5 years have seen more gas connections being provided to Indian households than were provided during the first 47 years after Independence.
The new strength of the Indian economy is evident from its competitiveness. Last year merchandise exports grew by 19% - that was the second highest growth rate in the world. In spite of global recession, Information Technology exports grew by 26%. Indian corporates are now making overseas acquisitions and investments. India is today providing aid to the least developing countries. We are returning our high cost debt ahead of schedule. The macro economy indicators have never been better than at present. Foreign exchange reserves are in excess of 82 billion dollars - the highest ever. Inflation is under control at 5%. The accelerated growth in the economy coupled with infrastructure creation has led to job creation at a mass level. The figures of job creation for the past three years from 2000 to 2003 demonstrate creation of 73.3 lakhs, 78.6 lakhs and 82.7 lakhs jobs respectively.
The National Executive notes with appreciation and satisfaction that the Government is straining every nerve to ensure that its economic policies work for the common man. In just a fortnight it has announced a slew of measures that will benefit people across the country:
The National Executive is confident that the NDA Government will continue its pro-people, pro-India economic policies, and that as a result, under its leadership, India will soon become an economic super-power.