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Mumbai: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the most important challenge before the country is to regain and then to sustain an economic growth rate of 8 to 9 per cent. "We also need to maintain basic parameters of healthy development, moderate rate of inflation, fiscal consolidation, narrow current account deficit and higher imports," Mukherjee told an award function organised by Zee Business channel here this evening.

Hit hard by global woes and domestic problems, the country`s GDP growth rate slowed to a nine-year low, both in the March quarter at 5.3 per cent as well as in 2011-12 at 6.5 per cent. "We also need to intensify our efforts to channelise the domestic savings to investment. This requires efficient financial intermediation and for that we need able and agile captains," he said.

Asking the industry leaders to create confidence in the market and spread financial literacy, he said the government is talking to various financial regulators to formulate and implement a national strategy for financial education. "We are now in next generation of financial sector reforms, which includes widening and deepening of the securities markets as part of concerted efforts to increase participation of retail investors in securities market and to further the goal of financial inclusion," Mukherjee said.

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