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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The economy is likely to return to an annual growth rate of 9 percent by the fiscal year ending in March 2012, a top policy adviser said on Saturday.
Asia's third-largest economy expanded 6.7 percent in 2008/09 (April-March), slower than the 9 percent or more recorded in the previous three years.
"By the end of the 11th five-year plan we hope to back to 9 percent growth rate. In the 12th plan the aim of the government is to bring the economy to 10 percent growth rate," said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
India's 11th five-year plan began in April 2007.
Ahluwalia said: "This may not be easy but not unrealistic. One critical objective for the government is massive expenditure in education."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said he was optimistic that India, which along with China is leading the drive out of a global recession, could return to annual growth of 9-10 percent in a few years time.
He said the economy was expected to grow by around 7 percent in the 2009/2010 fiscal year, slightly below previous forecasts by his policymakers.
The economy grew an annual 7.9 percent in the quarter through September, its fastest in 18 months, prompting policymakers, including the finance minister, to revise the growth forecast for the current fiscal year to around 8 percent from 7 percent.
Reporting by Nigam Prusty; Writing by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Alex Richardson