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Growth could remain flat in first quarter, says Chidambaram

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said the country's economic growth is likely to remain flat in the first quarter of the current fiscal, but is likely to pick up in the remaining three quarters.

PHOTO: Associated Press PHOTO: Associated Press
Admitting the Indian economy is challenged, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said the country's economic growth is likely to remain flat in the first quarter of the current fiscal, but is likely to pick up in the remaining three quarters.

India's GDP growth in first quarter of last financial year was 5.5 per cent.

"Thanks to the global slowdown as well as some domestic factors, the Indian economy is challenged. We expect that the growth trend will remain flattish in the first quarter of the current fiscal," Chidambaram told a press conference, on a day when the rupee touched a life time low of 65.56 to a dollar during the intra-day trade.

"We expect that growth will pick up in the second quarter to fourth quarter," he added.

Elaborating further, the finance minister said the growth in the remaining three quarters will pick up on back of increase in sown area by about 9.1 per cent, acceleration in Plan expenditure and impact of the projects cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Investment in last few months.

The country's economic growth has slowed down to 5 per cent in the last financial year, the lowest in a decade, on account of poor performance of manufacturing, agriculture and services sector.

Chidambaram further said the government, during the last 12 months, has taken a number of measures to contain inflation and revive investment and growth.

"Some results are visible, yet there are many challenges that have to be overcome," he said.