New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday Asia’s third-largest economy was expected to grow by around 7% in 2009/2010 fiscal year, slightly below previous forecasts by his policy makers.
But Singh said he was optimistic that India, which along with China is leading the drive out of a global recession, could return to annual growth of 9-10% in a few years time.
Indian policymakers, including the finance minister, have said they expect the economy to grow around 8 percent in the fiscal year ending March, after slowing to 6.7% in 2008/09 as the global economic crisis shaved off growth.
“We hope to achieve a growth rate of around 7% this year, which is one of the fastest in the world,” Singh told a conference of expatriate Indians.
Singh pledged that his administration would work to address key constraints in the infrastructure and the agriculture sectors as these were key priorities of the Congress-led government which swept to power last year.
India’s infrastructure development has failed to meet rapid economic growth in recent years and foreign investors complain about the slow progress in shoring up infrastructure and called for cutting bureaucratic red-tape.
The government needs to address this concern as infrastructure investment is a key driver to ensure strong economic growth in coming years and meet the demands of the world’s largest democracy with a population of around 1.2 billion.
On Thursday, ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal slammed the government for the slow progress in implementing projects.
“We have to blame the whole country for this. We have not experienced this kind of growth and we did not experice this kind of interest in investments in India,” Mittal told reporters in New Delhi.
“The states were not prepared. Neither the central government nor the states were prepared for this kind of interest in the steel industry.”