9 pc growth possible: PC
Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday assured his Congress colleagues that the country will return to the high growth rate of 9 per cent if correct remedial measures are pursued, even as he appreciated his "illustrious predecessor" Pranab Mukherjee. He said Mukherjee's stimulus package had stabilised the economy helping the country maintain the growth rate of 6 per cent despite the global financial crisis starting from 2008.
Referring to the Central Statistical Office's advance GDP growth estimate of 5 per cent in 2012-13, the Finance Minister expressed confidence that it will be 5.5 per cent, reportedly saying, "If we take correct remedial measures, growth will go up to 6-7 per cent next year and gradually to 9 per cent." This came in his opening remarks at the pre-budget consultation with Congress office-bearers at the party headquarters.
Congress office-bearers, who used to be quite vocal in making big, populist demands during such pre-budget exercises in the past, were quite restrained, even as AICC treasurer Motilal Vora demanded a second farm loan waiver and Seva Dal chief Manhendra Joshi demanded that only principal amount should be recovered from farmers waiving off the interest on loans. There were also demands for increasing the income tax exemption limit.
AICC secretary Asha Kumari demanded gender-budgeting, while former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi demanded that tribals should get share in the budget as per their population. Vora said that the loan waiver announced by the Centre for weavers had largely benefited "corporates" and not individual weavers.