New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram Wednesday said he expects the economy to grow between 5.5-6 percent in the current fiscal on the back of global challenges and slowdown in investment.
"Just as we consolidated the Indian economy in 2012-13,I am confident that we will take the economy one rung higher in 2013-14. We are looking forward to a growth rate between 5.5-6 percent and we will take all measures to achieve that goal," Chidambaram told reporters here.
His comments come close on the heels of the Reserve Bank lowering its growth projection for the fiscal to 5.5 percent, from the earlier estimate of 5.7 percent.
In the Budget, the government had estimated the economic growth to be between 6.1-6.7 percent.
"When the global economy is challenged, the Indian economy will also face challenges. It is the challenges that should bring out the best in the people, especially our farmers, manufacturers and service providers. I am an eternal optimist," he said.
The country's economic growth hit a decade low of 5 percent in the last fiscal on account of poor performance in the farm, manufacturing and mining sectors.
Earlier this month, the Asian Development Bank lowered its growth projection for India to 5.8 percent in calendar 2013 from 6 percent estimated earlier, citing the slow progress of economic reforms.
Urging that domestic investments must be revived, Chidambaram said demand for credit is sluggish from big industry.
"Industrial houses appear to be confident when they decide to invest abroad, the same confidence must be exhibited in order to invest in India. The price of credit is indeed high, but it is not so dauntingly high that it should hold back investment," Chidambaram said.
The RBI policy announced yesterday hints at easing of interest rates once the Rupee stabilises and there is reduced volatility in the currency market, he said.
"Ample funds are available with banks. Bankers have assured me that credit needs of the industry will be fully met," he said, adding that the government is working towards pushing forward stalled projects.
"The Cabinet Committee on Investment has so far cleared 157 projects with the total project value of Rs 1,60,900 crore," Chidambaram said.
First Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 20:20