Indian Prime Minister Hopes to See a 10% GDP Growth

Planned government panel to boost manufacturing sector output to at least 12% annually

India could "realistically" target annual GDP growth of 10%, said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, reported Reuters.

"As I look ahead, I feel that we can not only sustain the current rate of economic growth of around 8% but can realistically hope to target a rate of 10%," he told the annual meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Last month, India forecast economic growth of 8.1% in the fiscal year to March 2006, exceeding expectations.

Singh said the government would set up a panel to recommend steps to boost the output of the manufacturing sector.

"Our endeavor will be to create a policy framework that can deliver an annual rate of growth of manufacturing output of at least 12%," Singh told a gathering of India's top businessmen.

Manufacturing, which makes up more than three quarters of industrial production, increased 9.5% in February from a year earlier, and compared with January's 8.8% growth and a 5.9% rise in December.

Singh's comment came ahead of a central bank monetary policy statement due at noon (0630 GMT) that could raise interest rates.

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