Economy to grow by 5.5% this fiscal: Chidambaram

Economy to grow by 5.5% this fiscal: Chidambaram New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday exuded confidence that the economy would grow by 5.5 percent in the current financial year and improve to 6 percent in 2013-14.

"Today eurozone crisis is still continuing, recession in Europe, Japan and Brazil... Naturally these affect us. Still our economy has been witnessing growth and this year it will be 5.5 percent," Congress sources quoted Chidambaram as having said during pre-budget consultations with party leaders at the AICC headquarters.

Chidambaram expressed optimism that India would come out of the low GDP growth and see 6 percent next year followed by 7 percent growth rate leading to 9 percent gradually.

He sounded confident of achieving 5.5 percent in 2012-13 despite Central Statistical Organisation place the figures at 5 percent. The economy grew by 6.2 percent in 2011-12 and 9.3 percent a year ago.

Observing that the Indian economy was hit adversely by the global financial meltdown of September 2008, Chidambaram said that the stimulus packages provided by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had helped in recovery.

Chidambaram also emphasised that there should be a balance between the welfare schemes and the need to promote growth as without it would not be possible for the government to fund social sector programmes.

The interaction saw leaders like Jagdish Tytler and Ajit Jogi wanting the Centre to ensure that it gets credit for the welfare schemes being funded by it as non-Congress governments are cornering the glory.

While Mohan Prakash pleaded for special package for fisheries and efforts to reduce prices of seeds and fertilisers, Praveen Davar wanted widening of the tax net by including traders and shopkeepers.

He also demanded one percent cut on salaries and 0.5 percent in pension of MPs as well as government employees so as to help the have-nots.

PTI