Govt won’t like to remember this year, says Anand Sharma
11 November 2012
press trust of india
MUMBAI, 11 NOV: Union commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma (in photo) has said 2012 is not a year that the government would like to remember, with recent developments in the world having adversely impacted the country's economic growth.
“Recent developments in the world have adversely impacted even the major emerging economies, including China and us. Year 2012 is not a year which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, my colleague at the finance ministry P Chidambaram or I would like to remember,” Mr Sharma told a industry gathering at a luncheon meeting with the visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai here yesterday.
The country's economic growth this fiscal has been sharply revised downwards from eight per cent-plus in the beginning to a decade's low of 5.5-6.0 per cent. Many private bankers and agencies have pegged it even below five per cent. The International Monetary Fund has also pegged 2012 GDP growth at 4.9 per cent.
Similarly, for Mr Sharma, who drove exports last fiscal above the $300-billion target to $304.8 billion, 2012 has been unsatisfactory with exports falling by high double digits almost every month.
“We would like to leave it in as good a state as we can and take off in January 2013 to a high growth trajectory again,” Mr Sharma told the industrialists assembled by the three chambers ~ CII, Ficci and Assocham. Mr Sharma, however, said he drew comfort from the fact that the country was still growing at higher pace as compared to the USA, Europe and Japan.
“When we talk to the Americans or the Europeans, they say that minister Sharma, why are you worried? You are still growing at 6-6.5 per cent,” he said.
But the minister said this growth “is not enough for us, and we need to go back to eight-plus per cent, then only we can create jobs for over 12 million who join the workforce every year."
This is not a choice, or an option or a wish; it is absolutely an imperative and a priority for us because it has a social dimension,” Mr Sharma said.
Continuing its downward spiral for the fifth month in a row, exports contracted by 10.8 per cent in September to $23.69 billion, pushing the trade gap to a 16-month high of $18 billion. However, imports grew by only five per cent after four months of decline to $41.77 billion from $39.75 billion a year ago.