India eyes double-digit economic growth by 2013

MADRID, June 21, 2010 (AFP) – The Indian economy, Asia’s largest after Japan and China, is accelerating and could reach double-digit growth by 2013, Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma said Monday during a visit to Spain. “We hope to grow at a rate of between 8.5 percent to 9.0 percent this year and we are optimistic, rather confident, that we will take India’s growth to double digits in the next two years, by 2013,” he told a business conference in Madrid.

“We need to do that because we are a country of paradoxes. We have the largest middle class perhaps in the world, equal to the population of all of Europe put together, and at the same time we are also home to a large number of poor people.”

Indian economic growth has taken off since the country of some 1.2 billion people began liberalizing its economy in the early 1990s by reducing controls on foreign trade and investment.

While the country’s economic expansion slowed to 6.5 percent in 2008-2009 fiscal year after averaging 9.0 percent growth in the four previous years, the growth stood in contrast to the retrenchment seen in many developed countries.

India escaped the brunt of the global financial crisis as rising incomes boosted domestic dema