Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has defended his government's economic growth target of between eight and nine percent, despite the global recession, a report said Saturday.
Singh, on his way back from a meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised nations in Italy, said the world economy would take more time to recover.
"It is not going to be easy but I am convinced ... we should be able to sustain, with a little bit effort, a growth rate of about 8.0 to 9.0 percent notwithstanding the difficulties on the international front," Singh was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
"I am, however, confident that our domestic economic strengths will enable us to return to our earlier path of rapid and inclusive growth."
Singh, 76, is credited with launching India on the path of economic reforms as finance minister in 1991.
India's economy grew by 6.7 percent in the year ended March 31 -- the slowest rate since 2003 and down from nine percent a year earlier, as the effects of the global economic downturn hit home.
India's exports and industrial output contracted sharply between October and March -- despite three stimulus packages.
On Monday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced increased funding for farmers and poverty alleviation programmes in a bid to set the country on the path to nine percent growth while presenting the annual budget in parliament.
About his talks with G8 leaders, Singh said "it is my sense that while there are some signs of recovery, the world economy is still a long way from recovering the earlier growth momentum".