New Delhi: Prime minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said the economy has faced a difficult situation in the past year but the government aims to achieve an average growth of eight percent during the 12th Five Year Plan, along with inclusive growth.

“As the honourable president mentioned, our economy has faced a difficult situation in the past year. However, I do want to emphatically endorse the view of the finance minister (P. Chidambaram) that the slow-down in the economy need not persist,” he said, during a discussion on the motion of thanks to President Pranab Mukherjee for his address to a joint sitting of both houses of parliament.

“While our aim is to achieve an average GDP growth of 8 percent during the 12th Plan (2012-17), the focus will continue to remain on inclusive growth,” he said.

Manmohan Singh said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had delivered an average economic growth rate of 7.9 percent since it took office.

“This is the highest growth rate ever achieved by any government over its tenure. Even if the comparison is limited to the six years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the growth was only 6 percent,” he said.

He said the improved performance in agriculture was reflected in the growth of per capita consumption in rural areas.

“Agricultural growth in the UPA period was 3.5 percent compared with only 2.9 percent per year in the NDA period (1998-99 to 2003-04),” he said.

He said the government’s policies led to a growth of 6.8 percent per year in real agricultural wages in the 11th Five Year Plan compared with only 1.1 percent in the previous decade.

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