PM forecasts higher than 6.5% GDP growth in fiscal 2013

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday projected India's economic growth in the current fiscal to be a little higher than 6.5 per cent achieved a year ago amid many global agencies projecting a bearish outlook.

"Last year our GDP grew by 6.5 per cent. This year we hope to do a little better," Singh said in his Independence Day speech.

The 6.5 per cent GDP growth in 2011-12 was the lowest in nine years. The government's original GDP projection for 2012-13 was 7.6 per cent.

Singh's optimism on growth front comes at a time when a host of major private forecasters including Citi, CLSA, Crisil and Moody's trimmed their forecast to as low as 5.5 per cent citing inaction on the policy front as one of the reasons for slowdown in economic activities.

Singh said the global economy is passing through a difficult phase and has adversely affected India as well.

Besides on the domestic front, he said lack of political consensus on many issues was impeding rapid economic growth.

"Seen together, the European countries are estimated to grow zero per cent this year. Our country has also been affected by these external conditions," he said.

While not much can be done about the conditions prevailing outside, Singh said every effort must be made to resolve the problems inside the country to again speed up economic growth and job creation.

India's GDP grew by over 9 per cent for three years before the 2008 global economic crisis. The Prime Minister said his government is taking steps to accelerate infrastructure development and infuse confidence in foreign investors.

The 12th Five Year Plan would lay down measures for increasing the present rate of economic growth from 6.5 per cent to 9 per cent in the last year (2016-17) of the Plan, he added.

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