New Delhi: Asserting the government was
committed to pushing reforms like PFRDA and foreign investment
in retail, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said it
would strive to build political consensus on broader issues
and hoped the economy would grow by 7.5 per cent this fiscal.
In the light of global economic outlook amid the eurozone
crisis and slow recovery in the US, "when I am talking of 7.5
per cent (economic growth) I am not disappointed," he said at
the annual general meeting of the industry chamber PHDCCI.
India clocked GDP growth of 8.5 per cent in 2010-11.
Raising the issue of policy reforms, he said, "commitment
on FDI, PFRDA, all the major legislations, which are part of
the new generation reforms, are very much in the mind of the
government. We are working hard to build consensus".
The Finance Minister said volatility in the global
commodity prices and the high domestic inflation was adversely
impacting the Indian economy.
"Situation is difficult...(but) at the same time we
have the capacity and resilience to overcome the difficulty
collectively," Mukherjee said.
Though there are challenges on the fiscal front, he said
"the challenges are to be overcome collectively by appropriate
polices, effectively implementing it...".
However, he cited lack on numbers to push legislations.
"We decided to have PFRDA legislated in this session of
Parliament but could not do so ...not because of lack of
intention or commitment...you have to recognise the very hard
fact that legislation requires numbers which unfortunately
Indian electorate has not given to us," Mukherjee said.
The government is not likely to get the PFRDA Bill, aimed
at reforming the pension sector, passed due to the opposition
from UPA ally Trinamool Congress.
Few weeks ago, the Centre had to put on hold its decision
to open the multi-brand retail to foreign investments
following widespread opposition.
Referring to financial sector, Mukherjee said the health
of Indian banks is good as their Tier-I (equity) Capital is
higher than the norms specified by the Reserve Bank.
On oil prices, Mukherjee said "Brent crude (which India
imports)...has never come down below USD 107-108 per barrel
during the last 11 months".
He said high crude oil prices not only put pressure on
oil marketing companies, but also have an impact on the entire