Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday exuded confidence that the economy will soon return to 9-10 per cent growth, but said that double-digit inflation and excessive borrowing were major challenges.
"We shall have to move towards the betterment, towards the development and 9 to 10 per cent growth is achievable. It is not a pipe dream," he said while winding up the discussion on the general budget in the Rajya Sabha.
At the same time within the framework, it is possible to control inflation to ensure that it does not eat up the benefits of growth. "Benefit of growth is necessary, price control is necessary, fiscal consolidation is necessary," he added.
On high inflation, the minister said it was mainly due to a low base. Last year during these months, inflation was in negative zone and the impact of low base may remain for few more months till May/June this year.
"I will not be surprised if it (inflation) reaches double digit in March," he said. The general inflation has already touched 9.89 per cent in February. Inflation numbers for March would be announced in mid-April.
The Centre, he said, has taken all steps to insulate the vulnerable sections by releasing food grains for sale in the open market and is working closely with the states to address the issue.
A meeting of the committee of the chief ministers, constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to deal with rising prices, would be held shortly to take stock of the situation.