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Friday, February 26, 2010

Montek rules out double-digit inflation soon

Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Thursday ruled out possibility of inflation hitting double-digits in the near-term, even as the Economic Survey raised concerns about continuing price rise.

"I don't expect double-digit inflation," Ahluwalia told reporters in New Delhi.

Earlier in the day, the Economic Survey warned that overall prices would go up further in the next few months and partially blamed poor food management policies for the prevailing double-digit food inflation.

"Since December, there have been signs of high food prices, together with a gradual hardening of non-administered fuel products prices, getting transmitted to other non-food items,thus creating some concerns about a higher-than- anticipated generalised inflation over the next few months," the Survey said.

Conforming to the assessment on GDP growth made by the Survey, Ahluwalia said, "that broadly has been our own assessment. The Survey projects a growth rate of around 8.75% for the coming year. We are very encouraged by that. Our own feeling was that growth in the coming year would be well above 8%."

"I don't think that 5.5% (fiscal deficit for 2010-11) should be seen as written and stoned. It is true that we need to have a transition back to some kind of acceptable fiscal deficit but it does not have to be 5.5%. I know that the Finance Commission has said 5.7%," Ahluwalia said.

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