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PC on tour to drum up investment

P. Chidambaram in Hong Kong on Tuesday. (Reuters)

New Delhi, Jan. 22: Finance minister P. Chidambaram today said India could be expected to grow at 6-7 per cent in the coming financial year and even 8 per cent in 2014-15.

He said the country was on way towards an economic revival at an investor meet in Hong Kong, which is part of a road show on investment covering some of the world’s top financial capitals such as Singapore, Frankfurt and London.

The road show comes on the back of India’s economy slowing to its weakest pace in nearly a decade, at 5.4 per cent in April-September 2012. The year-end GDP (gross domestic product) growth figure is widely expected to be around 5.5 per cent, though the government expects it to be 5.7-5.9 per cent.

“The biggest challenge is walking the talk, staying on course, not losing nerve,” Chidambaram said. “There will be difficulties, there will be opposition, there will be criticism — but if we are convinced as we are that we should stay on this course, the challenge is to remain on course.”

The government has taken a number of steps to pep up the economy, including allowing foreign investment in multi-brand retail, deferring GAAR (general anti-avoidance rules) and only yesterday raising the import duty on gold.

“The silver lining is we are able to finance the current account deficit without reserves. Thankfully there are enough inflows of FDIs and FIIs (foreign institutional investment) and companies are able to raise money abroad under external commercial borrowing,” Chidambaram said.

He said rating agencies had no case to downgrade India. “We are on the path we have declared toward fiscal consolidation, we have taken a number of corrective measures, we have taken a number of policy decisions — so why should there be any speculation about a possible downgrade?”

 
 
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