New Delhi, Jan 04 (Agencies): In the wake of Citibank fraud and other scams, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday cautioned against "window dressing" by accounting firms and called for stricter disclosure guidelines.

"Accountants have a critical role in guarding against window dressing of balance sheets that encourage entities to take more and more risk until they are dangerously leveraged," the Minister said.

Mukherjee was addressing a conference on sustained economic growth organised by accounting body ICAI.

The estimated Rs 300 crore Citibank fraud at Gurgaon branch, involving diversion of depositors money to the stock markets, was uncovered last week.

"We must encourage stronger disclosure standards for systemically important financial institutions as well as complex and sophisticated financial products", Mukherjee said.

On sustaining growth, he said the challenge before the country was to sustain high rate of economic expansion and cross the double-digit growth barrier.

"The challenge now is to sustain this high GDP growth over the extended period of time and find the means to cross the double digit growth barrier in the coming years."

The economic recovery witnessed in the recent times, the minister said, has been broad based, with agriculture, industry and services contributing to the growth momentum.

The economy recorded a growth of 8.9 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal, after registering a growth of 7.4 per cent in 2009-10.

"The Indian economy has recovered robustly in 2010-11, recording one of the fastest growth rates in the world," he said.

According to estimates, the growth rate may cross 9 per cent in the current fiscal and revert to the pre global financial crisis levels.

The economic growth rate slipped from over 9 per cent to 6.7 per cent in 2008-09.

The government, the minister said, will continue to address weakness in the system and institutions at different levels of governance.

"We need to reflect upon possible flaws in our system and address them to withstand adversity. We need to make our financial sector more competitive by enhancing efficiency and transparency," he added.