Monsoon impact top priority, growth ensured: Mukherjee
Economy seems to have weathered meltdown and deficient monsoon is a top priority for now, FM said.
New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the Indian economy seems to have weathered the global financial storm and mitigating the impact of deficient monsoon is a "top priority" for now.
"Despite the global economic crisis, we grew by 6.7 percent last year...This year, we are getting mixed signal," Mukherjee said, while noting that indicators are coming good from industrial production data and in terms of business demand and investor confidence.
The Finance Minister, however, noted that the government was not in a position to lower its guard, given the uncertainties continuing in the global economic scenario.
"At this juncture, delayed monsoon has impacted many parts of the agrarian economy...Mitigating the impact of deficient monsoon is a high priority," he said at a panel discussion on reform process on a private TV channel.
Mukherjee said the process of economic reforms, which began in early 1990s, would continue in the right earnest so that the economy returns to a growth of over 9 percent at the earliest.
The economic growth would continue to go up unless there were some unprecedented events, he added.
The economy will grow at around 6 percent in the current financial year that began in April 2009, he said.
Commenting on the disinvestment programme, the Finance Minister said it was aimed at expanding the people`s participation in the public sector units, and gathering resources was not the main objective.
On the government`s borrowing plan, he said it would not crowd out private sector investments.
"...in this regard government and the RBI is in continuous touch...," Mukherjee said.
The government has plans to borrow nearly Rs 4,00,000 crore from markets during 2009-10, a rise of about 50 percent over what it borrowed a year ago, to fund the widening fiscal deficit necessitated after stimulus doses for the economy.
On reforms, Mukherjee said the government was moving ahead with setting up an autonomous debt management office and all efforts were being made to implement a goods and services tax from next year.
The new tax reform bill will be presented in parliament after public debate and the government would soon introduce repos in the corporate debt market. Presently, only repos in the government bond market are allowed.
Mukherjee declined to mention a timeframe by when these reforms, which have been mentioned earlier by government officials, would be implemented.