Jaipur: Noting that the country is passing through "difficult times", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said in the current fiscal the growth rate will be 7 percent but was optimistic that the economy will return to a higher trajectory of 9-10 percent in the medium term backed by strong fundamentals.

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"Our country is going through difficult times ... We are up to the task of meeting these challenges we face as a nation", he said while addressing the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being attended by over 1,900 overseas Indians.
    
Despite an adverse international environment, Singh said, "the Indian economy is expected to grow by about 7 percent this financial year ending March 31."
    
The country recorded a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 8.5 per cent in 2010-11 and was initially estimated to grow by 9 percent in the current fiscal. The growth rate projection, however, was scaled down gradually by the Reserve Bank as well as the Finance Ministry.
    
The Prime Minister, however, exuded confidence that growth rate in the coming years would go up to 9-10 percent as the "economic fundamentals are strong and ...constitutional processes are robust".
    
"We hope to bring back the rhythm of our growth process to sustain an annual growth rate of 9-10 percent in the medium-term. Our domestic savings rate which currently stands at 33-35 percent of our GDP will greatly facilitate the realisation of our growth objectives", he said.
    
Singh also said that efforts to combat inflation have started yielding results and there has been an improvement in the situation.
    
Fulfilling a long-standing demand, Singh said a pension and life insurance scheme for overseas Indian workers is being introduced. This will benefit oveR 5 million workers, especially those in the Gulf. The scheme was recently cleared by the Union Cabinet.

(Agencies)