Monday, November 29, 1999

Pranab optimistic of achieving 8.5 percent growth

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Ahmedabad, June 16 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said he was optimistic of achieving the targeted growth of 8.5 percent if a good monsoon this year supplements the improving Indian economy.Addressing reporters after a meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi here, he said that industrial production had registered an increase of 17.6 percent in March and tax collections have also been encouraging.The finance minister was, however, non-committal on the reduction of fiscal deficit from the present 5.5 percent, though he added that he was not worried since he had an additional cushion from the 3G and bandwidth auction (BWA) collections.Mukherjee parried questions on Dow Chemicals, saying that the empowered Group of Ministers (GOM) set up after last week's judgement on the Bhopal gas disaster was going into all aspects of the matter.'I will not take any questions in this regard,' he said.

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