Economy likely to grow by 5.5-6% in 2012-13: Rajan

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'It is too early to say confidently that the economy has turned the corner...', says Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan. 'It is too early to say confidently that the economy has turned the corner...', says Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan.
Summary'It is too early to say confidently that the economy has turned the corner...'

The economy is likely to grow at 5.5-6 per cent this fiscal with a marginal improvement in the second half of the current financial year, Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan said here today.

"I would be surprised if there is more deterioration (in growth rate) from here ... The numbers that have been talked about are in the 5.5-6 per cent range. And I feel comfortable sitting with that," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Ficci AGM here.

Industrial output bounced back to 8.2 per cent in the month of October, against a contraction of 5 per cent in the corresponding month a year ago.

"I think it is too early to say confidently that the economy has turned the corner … Given that the beginning of the announcements that increased confidence, buoyancy in the stock markets started in September, this creates an environment for business to start investing," Rajan said.

The government has taken a number of policy decisions since September including liberalising of the FDI norms for multi-brand retail and civil aviation sector.

Economic growth during the first half of current fiscal stood at 5.4 per cent against 7.3 per cent during the corresponding period of previous year.

The economic growth slowed to a nine year low of 6.5 per cent in 2011-12 and this year, too, the GDP growth, as per RBI's estimates, is likely to be 5.8 per cent. In the three years preceding the 2008 global economic crisis, India was growing at a rate of more than 9 per cent.

Rajan said the government would do its best to stick to the 5.3 per cent fiscal deficit target for the current fiscal.

"We have to be careful about everything we spend on. Thats how we are going to get back on fiscal track, being careful," he added.

On the recent decline in WPI inflation, Rajan said, "As we go into the next year, some quietening of inflation is to be expected. Certainly that core inflation came down quite strongly in the latest numbers is a reason for confidence".

The WPI inflation fell to a 10 month low of 7.24 per cent in November, from 7.45 per cent in October.

To a query on whether increasing tax would help curb gold imports, Rajan said, "the better approach for us is to make financial instruments more attractive.

"We need to see the process of gold import, if people are holding it in gold bars, then we have to see is if we can make the financial instruments more attractive".

The import of gold had declined to 398 tonnes in April- October of the current fiscal, from 589 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. In value terms, it has declined from Rs 1.40 lakh crore to Rs 1.15 lakh crore.

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