Inflation to fall to 7 pc by March, growth will be 8.5 pc: PM

New Delhi, Feb 16 (PTI) Exuding confidence that inflationwill fall to 7 per cent by March-end, Prime Minister ManmohanSingh today said the government was trying to tackle thesituation without hurting growth, which he pegged at around8.5 per cent for the entire fiscal.

Addressing editors of the electronic media, Singh saidthe government is trying to strike a balance between growthand inflation, despite the government having no control overinternational events, which are partly fuelling the pricerise.

"By the end of this (fiscal) year, inflation rate shouldcome down to no more than 7 per cent," he said.

He said inflation, particularly that of food, has been amajor concern in recent months, but the government was tryingto deal the situation without hurting growth prospects.

Food inflation has been hovering above 15 per cent in thepast few months before falling to 13.07 per cent in the lastweek of January.

Singh said the government is trying its best to deal withinflation, but "we don''t have at our disposal" instruments toinsulate the Indian economy from international events such asthe developments in Egypt, which have resulted in spirallingcrude oil prices.

"We don''t have control over international events... oilprices are rising, food prices are also rising," Singh said.

Commenting on economic growth, Singh said India has donewell to come out of the aftermath of the global financialcrisis and "our economy is in a good shape. We will have agrowth rate of 8.5 per cent this fiscal year." PTI TEAM SKBARV

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