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India growth forecast discouraging

Published By United Press International
NEW DELHI, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- India's economic growth in the current fiscal year ending March 31 is expected to hit a decade low of 5 percent, the government said.

The announcement on the gross domestic product by the statistics office comes as the government struggles to revive a slowing economy brought on by a combination of rising prices, deficits and tight money affecting consumer demand. The forecast, the lowest in 10 years, also comes ahead of the annual budget the finance minister will present later this month.

The Finance Ministry said the growth estimate is below what it had expected but assured it will continue to take "appropriate measures" to revive growth.

Speaking to the Economic Times, C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to India's prime minister, also agreed the numbers were disappointing but added "when the year is completed and more numbers are available, it could show a growth rate which is higher than what has been indicated."

He said the latest estimates are based on the behavior of the economy in the first seven or eight months.

"We do know that in the first seven or eight months, the Indian economy did not do that well," he told the newspaper. "Therefore, I see a pick up in the last quarter, that is January, February and March, of this year and expect things to improve."

The Wall Street Journal said the slowdown in the world's second most populous nation, which is also seen as a huge market for Western exports, could hurt global prospects for growth. The report said it may also come in the way of global investors seeking opportunities in emerging economies.
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