New Delhi: The overall inflation will be around 6-7 percent by March while economic growth in the current financial year will be around 7 percent, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday.

"We are hopeful that by the end of March, the headline inflation will be between 6 and 7 percent while the growth rate may be around 7 percent plus," Mukherjee said here during a meeting with economists as part of the pre-budget consultation process.

The consultations are held  to receive views on the various policies to be incorporated in the upcoming financial year 2012-2013.The headline inflation based on the wholesale price index (WPI) fell to a two-year low of 7.47 percent in December as compared to 9.11 percent in the previous month as per the latest available data.

Food prices have declined in January year-on-year raising hopes of further easing in inflationary pressure. Annual food inflation was recorded at -1.03 percent for the week ended January 14.

This was the fourth consecutive week of decline in general food price. Food inflation was at -0.42 percent for the week ended Jan 7 and at -2.9 percent and -3.36 percent consecutively in the previous two weeks.

Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu on Tuesday said the overall inflation would come down below 7 percent in January mainly due to the drop in food price.

January inflation figure will be released by the middle of this month. Addressing the senior economists, Mukherjee said Indian economy was passing through a difficult time and the growth would fall to around 7 percent against the budgetary target of 9 percent.

"The current year was a challenging year as we had to face the problem of inflation, fiscal deficit and maintenance of sustainable and inclusive growth," the Finance Minister said.

He said due to volatility of international crude prices, the euro zone crisis and overall slowdown in the growth process in developed economies, the emerging economies including India had also to face adverse impact of global slowdown, according to an official statement released after the meeting.

On progress on reforms, the Finance Minister said in the era of coalition politics, "decisions are taken through consensus as you have to carry others with you."