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At 8.2%, India's GDP growth next only to China

RUN UP TO THE BUDGET 2004-05/ Strongest advance in 15 years

Our Economy Bureau  |  New Delhi 

The country's economy surged 8.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2003-04 on the back of a strong service sector and bumper crops. The latest figures show that India's GDP growth rate was the fastest in Asia after China's, which stood at 9.8 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2004.
According to provisional estimates released by the Central Statistical Organisation, India's GDP for the full fiscal 2003-04 grew 8.2 per cent, exceeding the earlier estimate of 8.1 per cent and almost double the 4 per cent GDP growth recorded in 2002-03. This has been the strongest advance in the last 15 years, economists said.
The data for the last quarter of 2003-04 showed the economy decelerating from the 10.4 per cent growth recorded in the preceding October-December 2003 quarter, but still extending a trend of strong expansion that emerged almost a year ago.
According to analysts, the forecast of a normal monsoon is expected to rev up rural demand with almost two-thirds of the population depending on agriculture for their livelihood.
Rural demand and robust manufacturing growth were expected to propel the economy this fiscal, they said.
The United Progressive Alliance's common minimum programme too has projected a sustainable 7-8 per cent GDP growth during the next five years.
The output of the agricultural sector was 10.5 per cent higher in the January-March quarter of 2004 compared to the corresponding period previous fiscal. It was, however, lower than the 16.5 per cent growth in the preceding October-December quarter.
The farm sector accounts for nearly a quarter of the over Rs 25.2 lakh crore Indian economy and sustains nearly 600 million of the country's population, making it a key driver of demand.
Manufacturing output in the January-March quarter was up 7.6 per cent compared to January-March 2003. In the previous quarter, the manufacturing sector grew 7.5 per cent. The services sector grew 7.9 per cent during the January-March quarter, partly because of strength in finance.
Barring mining, construction and financial services, all other sectors recorded a higher growth during the last fiscal, with the hotel and transport sector clocking a double digit growth of 11.2 per cent in 2003-04, from 7 per cent in 2002-03.
At constant prices, the GDP in 2003-04 is estimated at Rs 14,26,701 crore over the quick estimates of Rs 13,18,321 crore in 2002-03. It was estimated at Rs 14,24,507 crore earlier.
The mining and quarrying sector growth halved to 4.4 per cent in 2003-04 as compared to 8.8 per cent in 2002-2003. Following a similar trend, construction and financial services also witnessed lower growth at 6.2 per cent and 6.8 per cent in 2003-04 as against 7.3 per cent and 8.8 per cent in 2002-03.
Electricity and water supply grew by 5.5 per cent during the period under review as against 3.8 per cent in 2002-03. Trade, hotels and communication sectors witnessed a growth of 11.2 per cent in 2003-04 as against 7 per cent in 2002-03. The social sector grew 6 per cent in 2003-04 as against 5.8 per cent in the previous fiscal.
The per capita income in real terms (at 1993-94 prices) during 2003-04 is estimated at Rs 11,672 (as against Rs 11,684 estimated earlier) compared to the quick estimates of Rs 10,964 in 2002-03. The growth rate in per capita income is estimated at 6.5 per cent during 2003-04, as against the previous year's estimate of 1.8 per cent.
The GDP at factor cost at current prices in 2003-04 is estimated at Rs 25,23,872 crore, showing a growth rate of 12.2 per cent over the quick estimates of GDP for 2002-03 at Rs 22,49,493 crore.

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First Published: Thu, July 01 2004. 00:00 IST