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'India set to exceed nine per cent growth'

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath says, "The growth rate is expected despite rising oil prices, appreciation of the rupee and high interest rates."

business Updated: Dec 18, 2007 20:49 IST

India is likely to exceed a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of nine per cent by the end of fiscal 2007-08, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said on Tuesday.

"India's growth rate is expected to exceed nine per cent despite rising oil prices, appreciation of the rupee (against the dollar), and high interest rates," Nath told a press conference in New Delhi.

On the issue of the rising rupee adversely affecting exports, Nath said, "We are looking at various mechanisms, such as reimbursing state levies and taxes (to exporters). We are also looking at other kinds of sops."

Due to an appreciating rupee, which has surged by almost 15 per cent in the last 12 months, exports, especially of textiles, leather, handicrafts and marine products, are facing job losses.

"There have been 120,000 job losses (both direct and indirect)," the minister said.

Textile exports have come down by about 22 per cent, handicrafts exports have declined 66 per cent, marine products 20 per cent and leather nine per cent, according to ministry officials.

Nath, who earlier during the day met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the meeting of the Council on Trade and Industry, raised the issues facing exporters.

The minister also gave a status report on the inflow of foreign capital into the country.

"Inflows are continuing with great momentum. FDI (foreign direct investment) equity inflows during the fiscal 2007-08, as of September 2007, were $7.2 billion, which is a growth of 65 per cent over the same period previous year."

Nath also informed the media persons that the 170-member World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has endorsed India's recognition as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPA).

"This is a tremendous boost to developing countries. India is soon going to emerge as IPR (intellectual property right) producer rather than IPR user," he said.

A national institute of IPR management is being set up in Nagpur that would cater to training, research and education, the minister said.