Berlin: Asserting that poverty is India's greatest problem, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that social evils associated with poverty cannot be dealt with effectively in a short period of time.
Dr. Singh said the Indian Government is making very conscious efforts to raise the level of living by a policy of sustained growth of 7 to 8 percent per annum for the last decade.
Dr. Singh, who was addressing a joint media conference along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that his government is committed to ensure that fruits of this development are distributed equally among the poorer section.
Replying to a question from the German media on the Delhi gang-rape incident and status of human rights in India, Dr. Singh said India is an open book and an open society committed to all the rules of functioning democracy.
"Whenever aberrations whether they are civil rights, human rights or other deficiencies come to notice, our democracy provide effective checks in ensuring that these aberrations will not go unchecked," he added.
Dr. Singh emphasized that the civil society actors have a very important space in the Indian government system.
"In our system of government there is a very important space for civil society actors to influence government policies to criticize government policies and to agitate in a peaceful manner for resolution of any problem they may choose to emphasize," he said.
Dr. Singh further said that functioning in democracy is not easy when your per capita income is as low as that of India. By Naveen Kapoor