FM sticks to 8.5% growth despite higher IMF forecast

"Always, we have dispute with the IMF. I was inclined to accept the IMF assessment for India's growth for the year when they projected it 9.4-9.5 per cent. But I am being conservative in my assessment...I will be happy with 8.5 per cent plus growth," Mukherjee told a conference on financial inclusion hosted by industry body CII here.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had hiked the country's growth forecast for 2010 to 9.5 per cent from its April projection of 8.8 per cent.

He further said the Eurozone crisis is not going to affect us if it gets confined to Greece and a couple of other countries, adding that our economy has shown considerable resilience.

"Eurozone crisis, if confined to Greece and a couple of other countries, is not going to affect us. But if it assumes larger proportion and dimension, if it engulfs Europe as a whole, I don't know what may happen. Therefore, in that context I do feel that our economy has shown its resilience," Mukherjee said.

The lingering debt turmoil in many European nations, including Greece and Portugal, is even threatening to derail the fragile global economic recovery, which is led by Asian countries such as India and China.

Mukherjee said globally he has heard appreciation for the country's banking structure and that is why he did not agree that there should be some sort of taxes on the banks to discipline them.

"Everywhere I heard the most appropriate and practical appreciation for our banking was possible for me to tell the last G-20 meeting, which was repeated by the Prime Minister in the summit at Toronto, that I do not agree with you that there should be some sort of taxes on the banks to bring them to discipline," he said.

New Delhi's stand against any bank tax for funding future bailouts was vindicated when G-20 leaders last month agreed that any such levy should be left to individual nations.
Highlighting the importance of financial inclusion, he said, "it is my firm belief that inclusive economic growth is crucial for achieving sustainable economic development. Therefore, financial inclusion is an important goal for the government."

He further said it should be recognised that if growth is to be sustained in the medium- to long-term, it has to necessarily involve the common man as important stakeholders.

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