New Delhi, Feb. 27(PTI and Online Bureau): The Economic Survey 2012-13, the official assessment of the country’s economy, projects a growth rate of 6.1 to 6.7 per cent for 2013-14, while pitching for an increase in the prices of diesel and cooking gas, and widening the tax base to check the fiscal deficit.
Stating that the government’s priority will be to fight high inflation, the Survey, tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, expects headline inflation --- based on the wholesale price index or WPI--- to decline to between 6.2--6.6 per cent in March 2013.
The Survey also calls for curbing import of gold to contain current account deficit.
The Survey, a wrap up of the past 12 months and a look ahead, is prepared by a team of economists led by the Chief Economic Advisor, currently Raghuram Rajan, and is customarily tabled in Parliament by the finance minister ahead of the general budget.
The document is viewed as being important because it prescribes steps for the government to deal with various economic problems, leaving the onus of taking hard decisions on the government.
Earlier, the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) had projected GDP growth of 5 per cent for this fiscal, sharply lower than the original estimate of 7.6 per cent (+/- 0.25 per cent).
While WPI inflation has declined in January, the rate of price rise at the retail level - as measured by the Consumer Price Index or CPI - is still in double digit.
High oil and gold imports are impacting the Current Account Deficit, which has widened to 5.4 per cent of GDP in the July-September quarter. CAD, the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign currency of a country, was 4.2 per cent in 2011-12.
The Union budget for 2012-13 had pegged the fiscal deficit at 5.1 per cent of GDP, but the figure is now closer to 5.3 per cent.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram has committed to reduce fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2013-14, but the task is not going to be easy in view of rising expenditure and subdued growth in revenue collection.