Predicts 6-7% growth in FY14; says 8% growth imperative for India
Disputing the Central Statistical Organisation’s growth figures, finance minister P Chidambaram exuded confidence on Saturday that the economy would clock a higher 5.5% growth in the current fiscal and 6-7% in 2013-14. “While 5% growth rate of CSO is low and a matter of concern, we believe growth will be closer to 5.5% rather than CSO’s estimate of 5%. It is possible to get back on the growth path, provided we follow prudent and sound policies, invest in our economy, stimulate demand, encourage entrepreneurship and risk taking,” he said.
The minister was in Mumbai to launch the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme, IL&FS’s Infrastructure Debt Fund and new stock exchange MCX-SX.
Chidambaram said green shoots were visible in the economy and with prudent and sound policy “we can recapture the magic of 2004-08. The average growth was 8.5% during that period”. There are signs of upturn and they will take India back on the high growth path, he said, adding that the government will be taking steps in the “remaining weeks of this fiscal that will put India back on the 8% growth path”. The FM said while the 5.5% growth rate is “satisfactory”, for India an 8% growth rate is imperative to generate jobs.
Chidambaram said, “Why should we, without any reason, denigrate our own performance and record? I have no doubt in my mind that we will come out of the trough and climb back to a growth rate of 6-7% next year and then between 7% and 8% in the year after.”
He said the CSO estimate of 5% for 2012-13 was not the lowest of the decade. “It is still higher than the two record lows of 2000-01 and 2002-03,” adding that the CSO estimate was based on ‘dated data’.