Govt expects growth at 7.5% in FY’12: Pranab



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 economy.

PTI