Noting that India continued to be the second fastest growing economy in the world after China, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said people should not be worried about the current slowdown and expressed hope of achieving six per cent growth this fiscal.
"People should remember India continues to be the second fastest growing economy after China. Even China's growth which was at 10 per cent has come down to seven per cent now, while our growth has slid to five per cent from nine per cent," he said at a bank function here.
"Economic slowdown is there in all the countries. When there is slow growth rate in the world, India cannot remain unaffected," he said inaugurating the 2110th branch of the Indian Bank in this small town in his Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency.
Chidambaram said even European countries had been affected by the economic slow down.
Many countries including Mexico Brazil were behind India, he said.
Expressing hope that the country's growth would touch six per cent this year, he said "People should be confident..self confident and take bank loan to invest in farm sector, small industries, housing etc. You should hope for bright tomorrow, and not worry about the slow down."
On the petroleum products prices, he said it had gone up due to the price of crude oil touching 108 US Dollars per barrel, adding the price of petrol and diesel would show a declining trend only if crude came below USD 100 per barrel.
India imports over 70 per cent of its oil demand and efforts are on to explore crude and gas in the country.
"Sometimes they succeed in hitting crude and sometimes they do not,and it requires a lot investments..thousands of crores...
"We have to reduce the import of crude to fifty per cent for reducing the petrol and diesel prices," he said.
Chidambaram also said plans were on to open 8,000 new bank branches this year. This would create 50,000 jobs and would also help the economy to grow.
He suggested women should form more Self-help groups and obtain loans boldly to start new ventures.
Earlier, Indian Bank Chairman and Managing Director T M Bhasin welcomed the Minister and other participants.