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India could see double-digit growth in five years: Pranab

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee predicted here Tuesday that India could for the first time experience "double-digit" economic growth within the next five years.

business Updated: Jun 30, 2010 15:26 IST

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee predicted in Washington that India could for the first time experience "double-digit" economic growth within the next five years.

On a visit to Washington, Mukherjee gave a bullish outlook for India's economy, saying it has "done exceedingly well in these difficult times through a combination of careful policy making, dynamic industrial leadership and a bit of luck."

Taking part in the US-India CEO forum, Mukherjee noted that India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at 8.6 percent last quarter.

He added that his ministry predicts 8.5 percent growth this year and the International Monetary Fund forecasts 8.8 percent.

"For the first time, it appears entirely within the realm of possibility that India will break into double-digit growth within the next five years," he told the forum, seated next to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Standard economic theory teaches us that the high savings and investment rates are essential for a nation to grow fast," the minister said, adding Indians now save and invest around 34 percent of GDP.

Economic data indicate it may continue to rise, he said.

"Our growth is coming not just from government action, but from a variety of sectors and stakeholders from all of the economy, including our dynamic private corporate sector," he told the forum.

"To me, this multiple-source growth is a sign of robustness," he said.

"A significant part of India's growth impulse is from our rural sector, which has been prioritized in our development plans for inclusive growth," Mukherjee said.

He also said India is offering investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector that are worth more than 850 billion dollars.

He stressed that India would like to work more closely with the United States as it pursues its development goals.

"I am sure the dynamism and energy of our private sectors and the public-private partnership that we envision will help to take our cooperation and achievement to unprecedented heights," he said.

First Published: Jun 30, 2010 15:24 IST