India second fastest growing economy: Pranab Mukherjee

February 16th, 2009 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Despite the global economic slowdown, India is the second fastest growing economy in the world and has recorded a sustained growth of over 9 percent for three consecutive years for the first time, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Monday.

Presenting the interim budget in the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee said the gross domestic product (GDP) has increased by 7.5 percent, 9.5 percent, 9.7 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in the four fiscal years between 2004-05 and 2007-08.

“This is a record growth of over 9 percent for three consecutive years for the first time. With per capita income growing at 7.4 percent per annum, this represented the fastest ever improvement in living standards over a four-year period,” he said.

The fiscal deficit has come down from 4.5 percent in 2003-04 to 2.7 percent in 2007-08 and revenue deficit from 3.6 percent to 1.1 percent in 2007-08, Mukherjee added.

The minister said despite the global financial crisis that set in 2007 impacting most emerging market economies, a 7.1 percent growth rate in the current fiscal makes India the world’s second fastest growing economy.

The growth drivers for the period were agriculture, services, manufacturing along with trade and construction, he said, adding that the annual growth rate of the agriculture sector rose to 3.7 percent between 2003-04 and 2007-08.

“Foodgrain production recorded an increase of 10 million tonnes each year during this period and touched an all-time high of 230 million tonnes in 2007-08,” Mukherjee stated.

Concerning the manufacturing sector, he said the sector has maintained a growth of 9.5 percent per annum in the same period, while exports saw an annual average growth rate of 26.4 percent in dollar terms.

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