NEW DELHI: Expecting an upward revision of the first quarter GDP numbers, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya today said the Indian economy can still manage 8 per cent growth rate this fiscal.
"I have consistently maintained that economy is moving forward and we have seen the growth shift up to 7.4 per cent (in second quarter) now," Panagariya replied when asked if GDP will touch 8 per cent mark as projected by him earlier.
He further said, "I still remain optimistic...perhaps we will see somewhat revision in the first quarter figure also.
So my prediction remains that by the time we get to the fourth quarter we would get to about 8 per cent."
Panagariya's comments on the national accounts have come after the Finance Ministry in a statement said earlier this week the economy will grow in the vicinity of 7.5 per cent.
However, the government had earlier projected a growth rate of 8.1-8.5 per cent for the current fiscal.
According the Central Statistics Office data released earlier this week, the Indian economy showed signs of recovery and grew at 7.4 per cent in July-September quarter this fiscal mainly on account of higher manufacturing growth of 9.3 per cent in the three-month period.
The economy had grown at 7 per cent in the April-June quarter. During the first half of this fiscal GDP grew 7.2 per cent compared to 7.5 per cent in same period of 2014-15.
On the rural economy, he said, "... we need to continue to take action particularly on the agricultural front. We would shortly come out with the paper which would be work of the taskforce on agriculture development."
Explaining further, he said, "Farmers must receive remunerative prices. This connects with issue of crop support prices and APMC (Mandi) reforms. The prices received by the farmers tend to be a smaller portion of what a consumer pays. There are also issues on the technology front."
On setting up Atal Innovation Mission as envisaged by the government, he said, "We have a process underway to set up a mission secretariat. We would also set up a high-level committee which will guide work of the secretariat."
Earlier, Panagariya expressed disappointment over meagre expenditure on research and development, saying just one per cent of the GDP has been spent for the last many years.