Growth forecast at 9 percent in India

Feb. 28, 2011 at 6:43 AM
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NEW DELHI, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The Indian economy is expected to grow at 9 percent next fiscal year, up 0.5 percent from the current fiscal year, the finance minister said Monday.

Presenting the annual budget in Parliament for the fiscal year starting in April, Pranab Mukherjee, whose coalition government is hobbled by soaring prices and a series of corruption scandals, forecast that inflation, now running at above 8 percent, would ease next year.

Much of the price pressures stem from food inflation, now at more than 16 percent, affecting a vast majority of the people.

Fiscal deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was seen at 5.1 percent this year in the budget but the finance minister said it should come down to 4.6 percent in 2011-2012.

The budget, weighted in favor of agriculture and the rural economy and welfare programs, sought to show Mukherjee's Congress Party-led coalition is not adrift as seen by its critics because of the scandals, the Financial Times reported.

"Overall, the budget is a growth-oriented and a good one and it has not taken the last year's growth for granted," said Hari Bhartia, president of the Confederation of India Industry, the Press Trust of India reported.

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