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India can achieve 9-10 percent growth: Mukherjee
January, 08th 2010

With the worst of the global economic crisis over, India can now achieve 9-10 percent growth in the near future, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Friday, adding the economy eas expected to expand 7.75 percent this fiscal.

'The Indian economy is on the growth trajectory path. We may expect 7.75 percent growth this fiscal,' Mukherjee said while addressing the first plenary of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here -- India's annual conclave to connect with its vast diaspora.

'I am quite confident if things go the way they are going, it is possible to achieve a growth of 9-10 percent,' he said, detailing the manner in which India had ridden out the global meltdown.

'In January 2009 when I took over, the challenge was whether to go the traditional way and wait for sunny days or take steps that were not conventional,' he said, referring to the Rs.186,000 crore ($37 billion) stimulus packages to generate internal demand.

'The risk paid off. In the first two quarters of 2009-10 -- in April-June the growth was 6.1 percent and in July-September it was 7.9 percent. So in the first six months, growth has been 7 percent against 5.8 percent in the corresponding period of last fiscal.'

Tracing India's growth path, the finance minister said that for the first time, a figure of 8.6 percent had been achieved between 2004 and 2009.

In this context, he said the reforms process initiated since 1991 was 'still continuing because its architect (then finance minister Manmohan Singh) is today the country's prime minister'.

At the same time, he said, since the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was a coalition, political compromises had to be made and a consensus reached on the road map ahead.

Speaking about some of the recent initiatives of the government, he said consensus was emerging on a new Direct Tax Code, with experts roped in to simplify the forms so that he was able to understand the fine print it on his own.

'I hope to introduce it in 2011-12 as targeted,' he said.

'In the area of indirect taxes, we want to introduce a Goods and Services Tax. There are 28 states involved. We need to build consensus on this. An empowered group of ministers under the West Bengal finance minister (Asim Dasgupta) is working on this.'

Earlier, the finance minister released a book titled 'The idea of giving' which is a study of philanthropical activities by prominent overseas Indians -- produced by IANS Publishing on behalf of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

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