Kamal Nath says India’s growth will top 7 percent

February 3rd, 2009 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) India will clock a growth of over 7 percent this fiscal, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said here Tuesday.Referring to the general belief that the economic growth would slow down considerably, Kamal Nath said at an awards function organised by the Export Promotion Council: “The gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by over 7 percent.”

Incidentally, India’s central bank itself has revised downwards its growth forecast to 7 percent from 7.5-8 percent predicted earlier.

Kamal Nath also contested Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai’s contention, made at the same forum earlier, that India’s merchandise exports would fall by as much as 22 percent in January because of the global economic meltdown.

“It’s too early to comment,” the minister said.

India’s merchandise exports registered a decline in December for the third straight month in dollar terms and were valued at $12.690 billion, down 1.1 percent over $12.825 billion logged during the like month of last fiscal.

Cumulatively, however, the exports grew 17.1 percent during the first nine months of the fiscal to $131.990 billion, against $112.737 billion during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, official data showed Monday.

The government had already admitted that the target of $200 billion set for the current fiscal would remain unmet, expecting the year to end with a figure of $170 billion.

Kamal Nath also said he told delegates at the annual summit of the World Economic Forum in Davos last month that the Indian economy was driven by domestic demand, that its banking system was strong and that loan disbursement was taking place.

“The liquidity that has been made available to banks should now be translated into credit,” he said.

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