Economy can grow by 6.5 pc in 2014-15, says Pronob Sen

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Allaying fears of adverse impact of deficient monsoon on the economy, National Statistical Commission Chairman Pronob Sen today said the country's growth can be as high as 6.5 per cent in the current fiscal.

Sen, who is a former chief statistician, thinks that the government's economic growth projection of 5.4 per cent to 5.9 per cent stated in the Economic Survey is very modest.

"In 2009, when there was worst monsoon in previous 35 years, the economic growth rate was 6.5 per cent. Now, we are talking about 5.4 per cent growth in the current fiscal. There is no need to disappoint at this point of time. The economic growth could touch 6.5 per cent in the current fiscal," Sen told reporters after releasing Sixth Economic Census here.

In 2008-09, the economy grew at 6.7 per cent despite poor farm sector growth of 0.4 per cent. Similarly, in 2009-10, the agriculture sector grew at 1.5 per cent but India's economic growth was recorded at 8.6 per cent.

The data revealed that during the two years manufacturing and other services sector grew at quite high rates. Manufacturing sector grew at 4.7 per cent and 9.5 per cent in 2008-09 and 2009-10 respectively.

The services segment such as financing, insurance, real estate and business services grew at 12 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Experts feel that there could be greater impact of Monsoon on the economy in view of lower industrial growth in the past two years.

The manufacturing growth in the previous two financial years was 1.2 per cent (2012-13) and 0.5 per cent (2013-14) respectively which reflects slow down in industrial output.

There has been persistent slowdown in the economy as the economic growth remained at sub five per cent levels in the previous two fiscals. In 2013-14, the economy grew at 4.7 per cent whereas it was 4.5 per cent in 2012-13.

On impact of lesser rains during this monsoon season on inflation, Sen said, "It is very difficult to say about inflation in coming months as we don't know the crop wise impact of monsoon."

Elaborating further he said, "We would have to see the impact of monsoon on inflation. If we talk about rice, we have enough stocks. At the moment we cannot say what would be the impact of lesser rains on other commodities like onions and tomatoes."

On whether fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent for the current fiscal can be achieved, he said, "I think it is achievable. The government want to sell its stake in public sector undertakings for the purpose. I think the target can be achieved in view of buoyant stock markets these days."

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