New Delhi: The expected growth rate of about seven percent this fiscal should be regarded as commendable in the light of difficult global economic conditions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday while hoping that the country would soon return to a higher growth path.

Replying to the motion of thanks to President Pratibha Patil's address to the joint session of parliament, the Prime Minister said 2011-12 had been a difficult year for all countries.

He said industrialized countries had recorded a growth of about 1.6 percent in the year. "Our own economic performance of about seven percent must be regarded as commendable," the Prime Minister said, clarifying that it should not be seen as acceptable.

"We should strive to improve it next year to return to high growth path," he said.

President Patil had said in her address to the two houses of parliament last week that the country would soon be back on the high growth path of eight to nine percent from about seven percent estimated for the current fiscal.

(Agencies)