India PM calls 8% economic growth 'ambitious'
NEW DELHI, (AFP) - India's premier Manmohan Singh played down hopes on Thursday for the nation's once booming economy, terming a plan for achieving eight percent annual growth an "ambitious" goal.
Singh's muted expectations came after the government this month cut its growth forecast to just under six percent for this financial year - putting Asia's third-largest economy on track for its worst performance in a decade.
"Achieving a target of eight percent growth, following less than six per cent in the first year, is still an ambitious target," said Singh, 80, in an unusually downbeat message ahead of the new year.
He was speaking to state chief ministers reviewing India's 2012-2017 economic plan which aims for eight per cent annual average growth. Despite liberalisation steps, India runs on five-year plans based on the old Soviet Union's model.