India’s Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Friday that the days of 6 per cent growth rate are history, and that a regular 9 per cent growth rate is par for the course. “In fact,” he said, “we have to worry if growth rates fall below 8 per cent.” Chidambaram was speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
He said that though the dollar exchange rate is not in the comfort zone, government had taken measures to help exporters cope with the situation. “There has been no slowdown in growth or in investment,” he said, “although there has been a slowdown in demand in some sectors, but that is mainly due to interest rates.”
He said the economy will continue to grow at a high rate of growth, and the most pessimistic estimate this year is for 8.6 per cent.
The finance minister also delved upon the Left’s opposition to the US-India nuclear deal saying that the collective wisdom of the coalition will eventually steer it in the right direction. “Could we have sold it in a different way? I don’t know. But I think the general message is that the nuclear deal will open more doors for us to tap into another source of energy. That message has been strongly conveyed to the nation.”
He also said that the government will not compromise on any principle, but can do so on time frames. “I also want to assure every investor that there is no slowdown on investment and there will not be. We have been receiving a copious amount of investment, but we will learn to deal with it. The good thing is that we have always seen a secular increasing graph on investments.”