Prime Minister-designate Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the 21st century would be India's and his government would pursue reforms with a human face.
"We will carry forward the process of social and economic development and I will strive to realise the vision of Rajiv Gandhi and turn the 21st century into India's century," Singh told reporters after receiving President APJ Abdul Kalam's invitation to head a Congress-led government.
A beaming Congress President Sonia Gandhi said: "I was under tremendous pressure. But now everything is over. It is a happy moment. I think the country will be safe under Manmohan Singh."
When asked whether he was a reluctant prime minister, Singh said, "Sonia Gandhi is my leader. I would hate to be a substitute for Mrs Gandhi. Nobody can be a substitute for Sonia Gandhi."
Speaking at the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting in the Central Hall of Parliament, he said: "The rare example of sacrifice set by Gandhi was in keeping with the highest standards of idealism that were generated during the freedom struggle. If I say thank you madam, it will never be enough."
Singh said he would "exert his utmost to live up to the great trust reposed in me" by Sonia Gandhi.
Singh emphasised that the new government would carry forward the process of social and economic development. The focus would be on agriculture, employment and balanced economic development, he said. "We will give a model of economic development to the world and our people which creates opportunities for the poor and the downtrodden to participate in economic development," Singh said.
In his message to the market, Singh said his government recognised the importance of a healthy capital market and there was no reason for anyone to panic.
The policies of the new government would include responsible macro-economic policies, bringing balance in growth and focus on agriculture, a viable social safety net and creation of job opportunities, Singh added.