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World Bank to step up aid next fiscal

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 13

THE World Bank on Friday indicated higher assistance to India next fiscal from close to $2 billion this fiscal based on optimism that the country would be able to sustain the GDP growth rate of eight per cent.

``We are optimistic that the Indian GDP growth would be up to eight per cent in 2004-05 with fiscal adjustments taking place,'' the World Bank Country Director, Mr Michael F. Carter, told presspersons after signing the second structural adjustment loan agreement for Andhra Pradesh here.

``India is doing extremely well. Growth has picked up and there has been improvement on the fiscal side also,'' he added.

Recently, the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) had pegged India's GDP growth rate at 8.1 per cent for the current fiscal.

The World Bank also hailed the Government for gradually carrying out fiscal adjustment by targeting a lower fiscal deficit at 4.4 per cent of GDP in 2004-05, from 4.8 per cent estimated for this fiscal.

Although this year's fiscal deficit is slated to be lower than the budget estimate of 5.6 per cent mainly due to higher GDP growth, Mr Carter said tax administration has also improved.

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