Need to work at getting 4 pc growth in agriculture: PMEAC

Chennai: With a normal monsoon predicted this year, the Prime Minister`s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) on Wednesday said there was a need to work on getting four per cent growth in agriculture.

"Provided the monsoon is normal (this year), there is a need to work towards getting four per cent growth in agriculture and allied sectors", PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan told reporters on the sidelines of a two-day conference here.

On Tuesday the Earth Sciences Ministry had predicted the monsoon in the country as a whole to most likely be normal.

On prices, Rangarajan admitted that the rise in headline inflation in March was "unexpected" and predicted it would come down to six per cent this year.

"The rise in inflation in March is unexpected. We estimated (it would decrease) because of decline in food prices. But inflation in manufacturing sector rose", he said.

Inflation in March touched 8.98 per cent, which was above RBI`s expectation of eight per cent, due to high prices of vegetables and manufactured items.

Earlier in his inaugural adddress at the fifth edition of "India Finance Forum 2011" organised by CII, Rangarajan said the growth rate was expected to be 8.6 per cent this fiscal.

"Economic growth rate could be 8.6 per cent, mainly supported by the agriculture sector at four per cent growth and manufacturing and services sector at 8-10 per cent".

He said fiscal deficit during 2010-11 was expected to come down to 5.1 per cent of GDP and was projected to be around 4.6 per cent in 2011-12. "We should maintain this course and soon reach the target of three per cent of GDP", he said.