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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today described the 9 per cent growth target for the 12th Plan asambitious though achievable, given economic volatility around the globe.

Addressing the 56th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) here, the Prime Minister, however, said the long term prospects for the economy remain good.

The growth performance of the Indian economy is in difficulty because of high inflation and interest rate hitting industry, coupled with chilly winds from the euro zone and the US.

The government now expects growth close to 8 per cent this fiscal year.

The Approach paper to the 12th Plan proposes a growth target of 9 per cent per year. “It is relevant to ask whether this is feasible since the economy is currently slowing down,” he said.

“The current slowdown is a matter of concern. But it should seem a short-term phenomenon, reflecting highly unsettled conditions in the world economy,” he said.

Dr Manmohan Singh said all major economies were reducing their growth expectations, given the debt problems in Europe and the US. The Prime Minister, however, regretted the country had not done enough to bring the benefits of growth to the poor, though some important steps have been taken in this direction.

Emphasising that economic slowdown in the country is a matter of concern, the Prime Minister said it should be viewed as a short-term phenomenon in the backdrop of the slowdown in the industrialised Western world.

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