New Delhi: The budget should aim at raising the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to 8 percent in 2012-13 from the expected 7 percent in the current fiscal, according to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

"We should be aiming at 8 percent (growth) next year and from then onward, we can build on to a more rapid growth. Most important thing is this regard, in my view, would be a Budget that signals a return to fiscal consolidation," Ahluwalia said.

"The government's objective in the Budget should be to recover the momentum of growth," he said, adding that the Union Budget, to be presented in mid-March, will be a very important and critical signal.

The government last month revised the growth forecast for the current fiscal downward to 7.5 percent on domestic concerns like high inflation and slowing industrial output, besides a global slowdown. The Indian economy had expanded by 8.5 percent in 2010-11.

During the first half this fiscal, economic growth stood at 7.3 percent. In the second quarter (July-September) of 2011-12, growth slipped to a two-year low of 6.9 percent.

"How much we can do to uncork the bottlenecks in infrastructure depends on the confidence that the Budget can bring in. But I think it would be reasonable for us to try to try to take the economy back to 8 percent (growth)," Ahluwalia said.

Ahluwalia said the aim in the near-term should be to create conditions for greater investment by both the private and public sector.

 “Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) have a lot of cash and they should be investing in energy or infrastructure. I think those are the things we should be focusing (on)...," he said.

According to Ahluwalia, it would be possible to signal international investors that India's growth fell to around 7 percent, but is on the way up again.

"There would not be too many countries doing that, other than China," the Plan panel deputy chief said.

He pegged growth in the current fiscal at around 7 percent.

"I think we are going to end the year with around 7 percent growth. We are going to end the year without the panic about inflation... That's a good time to look at what the next year is going to look like," Ahluwalia said.

He said in a time when sovereign ratings of many euro zone countries have been downgraded and global uncertainty, markets in India and abroad are looking to see which countries are positioning themselves well.

"In my view, India is in a position where we could give signals that position us well," he said.

(Agencies)