India's economy is expected to grow at 6 per cent during the year, despite erratic monsoon in several areas, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said. However, a drought in many parts of the country would slow down the economic expansion in the second and third quarters.
"There is no reason to revise my target which I am expecting 6 per cent plus. Whether it will be 6.5 per cent or 6.7 per cent, whether I will be able to retain last year's (economic growth rate), I do not know. There may be some deceleration in second and third quarters...but the fourth quarter will make up," Mukherjee said at the Forum of Financial Writers and the Commonwealth Journalists Association meet in New Delhi yesterday.
''Kharif production in 58 districts of UP and 38 districts of Bihar have been affected,'' Mukherjee said, adding that Punjab and Haryana protected their crops by mining underground water at a heavy cost.
''If rains revive in the remaining June-September monsoon period, that will replenish water reservoirs and help winter crops,'' he added.
Mukherjee said the drought will not only impact the agriculture output but also pressure the availability of water in the ensuing seasons.
"This will have an impact on availability of water for the winter crop. Also, it may affect some of the hydel power projects," he noted.