New Delhi, Oct 22: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh questioned on Saturday whether Asia's third-largest economy will meet an average growth target of 9 per cent annually over the next five years, given economic volatility around the globe.
India has been forced to pare growth forecasts this year as high inflation and interest rates hit industry, adding to chill winds from the euro zone and the United States. The government now expects growth of close to 8 per cent this fiscal year.
In a speech discussing preparations for India's next five-year economic plan, which runs from 2012, Singh said long-term economic prospects remained good.
“The approach paper proposes a growth target of 9 per cent per year. It is relevant to ask whether this is feasible since the economy is currently slowing down,” he said.
“The current slowdown is a matter of concern. But it should seem a short-term phenomenon, reflecting highly unsettled conditions in the world economy,” he said.
All major economies were reducing their growth expectations given the debt problems in Europe and the United States, he said.
Singh, who in the 1990s ushered in market reforms credited with unleashing India's economic potential, added the country had not done enough to bring the benefits of growth to the poor.