Mon, Jan 09, 2012 - Page 10 News List

India’s PM sets sights on returning to 9% growth

LOOSENING THE REINS:Food prices fell last month for the first time in six years, raising hopes the central bank would loosen its tight monetary policy stance

AFP, JAIPUR, INDIA

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said he hoped the nation’s economy would overcome a recent dip in confidence to post annual growth rates closer to 9 percent or 10 percent.

Addressing a business conference in the northwestern city of Jaipur, the prime minister admitted that growth in the current financial year would be down sharply from earlier government forecasts of 9 percent.

“Despite an adverse international environment, the India economy is [still] expected to grow by about 7 percent this financial year ending March 31,” he said. “However, we hope to bring back the rhythm of our growth processes to sustain an annual growth rate of 9 to 10 percent in the medium term.”

India’s central bank has raised interest rates 13 times since March 2010 in a bid to stem high inflation, but the hawkish policy has angered businesses, which complain it has hit growth and investment.

“Our efforts to battle inflation are producing results and there has been an improvement in the situation,” the prime minister said in his address to about 1,500 people attending the conference from two dozen countries.

Food prices fell late last month, the first decline for nearly six years which raised hopes that the Reserve Bank of India might loosen its tight monetary policy stance.

The Indian economy grew 8.5 percent in fiscal 2011 and 7.4 percent in the previous year.

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