Dec 27 2012 00:00 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today struck a downbeat note on the challenges the Indian economy is facing by dubbing a five-year plan for average growth of 8 percent ambitious. The Prime Minister was addressing Chief Ministers and top bureaucrats in New Delhi at a meeting of the National Development Council. Singh also said that subsidies on energy products should be limited, with a phased adjustment of prices. He added that early implementation of a Goods and Services Tax (GST), a long-delayed plan intended to replace myriad state and central taxes, was critical to raise the tax/GDP ratio. India's GDP growth has languished below 6 percent for three straight quarters, a far cry from the near-double-digit pace of expansion before the 2008 global financial downturn.