Arvind Panagariya said good monsoon can help crossing 8 per cent

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A good monsoon can help add “a percentage point” to India’s GDP growth in the current fiscal, from 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said today expressing confidence in crossing the 8 per cent mark. “I am very optimistic particularly encouraged by the monsoon. Monsoon will deliver this time. We can expect some pretty robust agriculture growth,” Mr Panagariya told reporters on the sidelines of a conference of chief secretaries and planning secretaries in New Delhi. “If the agriculture growth does pan out on those lines…that adds up a percentage point to the growth. That really makes crossing 8 per cent quite probable. We should cross 8 per cent in 2016-17,” he added. Indian economy grew 7.9 per cent in March quarter and recorded a five-year high growth rate of 7.6 per cent for the 2015-16 fiscal on robust manufacturing growth. Enthused by the impressive numbers for the last fiscal, as against 7.2 per cent in 2014-15, the government had also said that the growth rate can go up to 8 per cent in the current fiscal on the back of a good monsoon. The farm sector also rebounded to the growth zone, as against a contraction in previous fiscal, although the rate of expansion was low at 1.2 per cent in 2015-16. About Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to NITI Aayog tomorrow, he said: “We will be discussing with the Prime Minister precisely the Vision (15 years till 2030), Strategy (7 Years) and Action Plan (3 years) documents. We will seek his guidance on these documents and share our views.” On states continuing with five-year plan system which was abolished by the Centre, he said the government is not imposing anything on states. Some states will continue with their plans. “As you know, the Planning Commission was replaced by the NITI Aayog, in most of the states Planning Boards are continuing. “There are certain things which require aligning, for example the distinction between the Plan and Non-Plan expenditure. This will disappear starting 2017-18. But states that keep the planning (old process), they will then be free to choose what expenditure they want to classify as Plan expenditure at state levels,” he added. On abolition of Railway Budget and changing financial year to calendar year, he said no decision has been taken in this regard as yet. Earlier, NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy had said that abolition of Railway Budget and change of financial year to calendar year will be a reality by 2018.

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