GDP likely to grow at 8.5 pc, agri remains a concern: Pranab

GDP likely to grow at 8.5 pc, agri remains a concern: Pranab

GDP likely to grow at 8.5 pc, agri remains a concern: Pranab

"...most probably we will achieve the target of eight-and-a-half per cent GDP growth in 2010-11," Mukherjee told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate programme.

On whether India's economic growth has become self-sustaining or requires government stimulus, Mukherjee said "Of course in agriculture..."

He said expansion in industrial production has reached over 10 per cent and services are contributing substantially to the growth.

"But agriculture remains a concern and we shall have to ensure that we achieve minimum four per cent growth in agriculture annually over a longer period of time so that we can maintain sustainable growth at... a higher rate around 9 per cent," he added.

On whether he would be able to rein in fiscal deficit at the targeted level, Mukherjee said, "I am quite confident that I'll be able to achieve 5.5 per cent (level)."

He said fiscal consolidation was one of the top-most priorities for him, along with maintaining a high level of growth. "I would not like to have growth at the expense of fiscal prudence, at the same time, I would not like to strangulate the growth process by resorting to extremely monetarist policy."

Mukherjee said the additional amount that the government has gained from the auction of 3G spectrum (radio waves) would provide it with some elbow room for containing the deficit, but a return to the path of fiscal consolidation was absolutely imperative.

"We cannot afford to indulge in financial profligacy over a period of time," he added.
The government had budgeted for Rs 35,000 crore from the spectrum auction for 3G services and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) for the current fiscal. However, the 3G auction alone has yielded over Rs 67,000 crore, with the BWA spectrum auction yet to commence.