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ENERGY > Indian PM sees strong 2012 growth

NEW DELHI - Agence France-Presse

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks to the media at the Parliament.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks to the media at the Parliament.

Indian Premier Manmohan Singh forecast on Aug. 11 stronger growth for India’s stumbling economy, prompting opposition charges that the 79-year-old leader was in “denial” mode.

Singh said he expected Asia’s third-largest economy to expand this year by more than last year’s 6.5 percent -- a far rosier projection than many private economists who say India could post its worst economic performance in a decade.

“The fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong. Investments and savings are among the highest in the world. I am hopeful we will do still better than 6.5 percent growth performance of last year,” Singh told reporters. Singh’s comments in New Delhi came after the research arm of the global ratings agency Moody’s last week scaled down its growth forecast for this fiscal year ending March 2013 to 5.5 percent.
The forecast “is a cause of concern but one should not draw unwarranted conclusions”, said Singh, credited with beginning the process of liberalizing India’s shackled economy in the early 1990s when he was the finance minister.

“We see nothing on the horizon to lift the economy from its funk,” Moody’s Analytics economist Glenn Levine said on Aug. 9. P. Chidambaram, newly appointed finance minister, has pledged to restart India’s “growth engine.” But analysts are skeptical about how much he can achieve with the Congress government under pressure after a string of graft scandals.

August/13/2012

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