FM upbeat on economy but has concerns too

Written by Agencies | New Delhi, December 31: | Updated: Dec 31 2007, 21:50pm hrs
Looking back at 2007 with satisfaction, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday predicted a nine per cent growth of the Indian economy in the current fiscal and dismissed fears that a global depression may affect India.

In a review of the country's economic performance during the year coming to a close, he said in an interview that the challenges in the new year were the external financial sector and the food front domestically.

It has been a good year for the economy despite uncertainty in the external world and some internal difficulties, especially on the food front. The year will return a rate of growth of 9 per cent, Chidambaram said.

In the last four years of the UPA government, the economy has clocked an average 8.6 per cent growth and maintained that a five-year average of 8.6 per cent is by all means an impressive record.

However, the Finance Minister emphasised that he was not minimising the challenges ahead.

The external sector remains uncertain. In fact, the uncertainty may have deepened in the last few months because of unravelling crisis in several segments of the financial sector.

Domestically on the food front we keep our fingers crossed on rice procurement, wheat production and procurement.

If all these turn out to be favourable then I think the pressures will ease. There is no question of relaxing the vigil on the food front because food is the most important driver of prices in India, he said.