Inflation to ease by March 2012: RBI

Dungabori (Assam): The Reserve Bank of India Wednesday said inflation, which is hovering near the double-digit mark, will moderate by March-end on the back of better farm output. "Inflation will come down because the production and agriculture sectors will boost up the rural agro-based economy of the country," Governor D Subbarao said at a RBI Financial Outreach Programme here in central Assam`s Morigaon district.

As per the latest RBI forecast, inflation is expected to ease to 7 per cent by the end of March, 2012. For the month ended October, general inflation stood at 9.73 per cent. Food inflation was 9.61 per cent for the week ended November 12. On the economic growth, he said the Indian economy was stable and will go on despite global economic meltdown.

According to data released today, India`s economic growth rate slipped to 6.9 per cent in the second quarter this fiscal, the lowest in nine quarters, prompting the government to lower its full-year growth projection to 7.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, growth of eight infrastructure industries slowed down to 0.1 per cent in October this year, from 7.2 per cent expansion witnessed in the same month last year. The Reserve Bank in its mid-year credit policy review last month had lowered the GDP projection to 7.6 per cent for the current fiscal compared to earlier estimate of 8 per cent.

Subbarao said proper coordination of farm loan recovery was the only way out to strengthen the agro-based economy of the country and the North East region, he said. . On the financial inclusion, he said, every habitation with a population of over 2,000 people in the country will get banking services by the end of March 2012.

He advised the controlling heads of banks not to take Financial Inclusion as compulsory but realise that there exist tremendous business opportunity at the bottom of the pyramid. Financial Inclusion is having a saving or current account with any bank and also includes loans, insurance services. The RBI Governor also urged the rural population not to be lured by the offer of high rates interest on their money by unauthorised bodies. He appealed to students, farmers and self-help groups (SHG) to work for better financial coordination and literacy in society.

One of the main purpose of conducting this Financial Outreach Programme was to spread awareness of the importance of financial inclusion, and the financial services and products available in the banking sector, Subbarao added.