India's economy will grow by 5.5% in 2012-13 - faster than Central Statistics Office's (CSO's) estimates of 5% - commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said here on Sunday as he laid out the red carpet for foreign investors to kick-start Asia's third largest economy, which until recently was
an engine for global growth.
"The growth rate for the current fiscal would be nothing less than 5.5%, while for 2013-2014, it would be at least 6.5%," Sharma said.
Both the finance ministry and the planning commission have contested CSO's forecast arguing that these were based on data till November.
"India is a land of limitless opportunity," Sharma said while addressing a group of Indian businessmen based in Dubai and corporate captains led by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
"We need to go back to 9% growth," he said underlining that the country's image as an investment destination should not be judged by unfounded pessimism and negative publicity that has dominated views about India in recent months.
Sharma said that efforts were on to seek support of all political parties in upholding the strengths of the economy while removing the negative sentiments.
CSO had pegged India's growth in 2012-13 at 5% - the worst since drought-hit 2002-03 - amid a crippling industrial slowdown, weakening investment and slowing demand.
UAE should take the lead in "reenergising the negotiations for concluding the India-GCC FTA talks", which has remained stalled for a while, Sharma said.
(The writer's travel and stay is sponsored by FICCI.)