Late monsoon rains have triggered hopes that the drought this year will be reduced substantially, helping maintain a 6 per cent economic growth rate, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday. But there is no escaping the drought’s impact on the kharif season.
“In the first quarter there was no impact on account of drought but in the second quarter the full impact of drought would be there,” said Mukherjee at a meeting with journalists at the Indian Women Press Corps. Late rains will help sowing of the rabi winter crop, he said.
Mukherjee added that the contraction in the export market was still a cause for concern.
“There will be no major breakthrough in the export front until there is quick recovery in the developed world,” he said, referring to Europe, US and Japan that account for 60 per cent of India’s exports.
Mukherjee said the recent trade policy aim of looking for new markets would take time.“It cannot be done overnight,” he said. Inflation was a matter of concern, but there was no disagreement on the issue between the Reserve Bank and the Centre, he said, adding the government was keen to take the necessary steps to rein in the high fiscal deficit.
Speaking on the somewhat controversial move to curtail expenditure by government staff, Mukherjee said that ministers and bureaucrats who are entitled to travel on state expenses should try and travel in economy class for domestic travel, though for international travel purposes, they could fly business class.