Robust agricultural growth pushes GDP to 9%

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New Delhi, May 30 (UNI) Driven by a robust agricultural growth, the GDP has touched nine per cent, up from 8.7 per cent estimated earlier, the government today said.

''The upward revision in the GDP growth rate is mainly on account of the revision made in the estimated production of agricultural crops,'' the government said in revised estimates of the GDP.

''The 2007-08 growth rate of nine per cent is a matter of satisfaction and should lead to better fiscal indicators,'' Finance Minister P Chidambaram said here, but added that the current fiscal year would be ''more difficult''.

The Minister noted a sharp slowdown in manufacturing growth in the March quarter, and said the government will take steps to boost industrial growth.

The agricultural and allied activities grew by 4.5 per cent, compared to earlier estimates of 2.6 per cent, while the manufacturing sector growth has been lowered to 8.8 per cent from 9.4 per cent.

Going by the revised estimates, India's GDP growth stood at nine per cent in 2007-08, compared to 9.6 per cent registered in the previous fiscal.

The economy grew at 8.8 per cent in the March quarter from a year earlier, beating forecasts and holding a steady pace in the second half of the fiscal year despite earlier monetary policy tightenings.

It was the third successive fiscal year that the country's economy has grown at nine per cent or above, to be the world's fastest-growing major economy after China.

Farm output grew an annual 2.9 percent in the March quarter compared with upwardly revised annual 6 percent in the prior three months.

Manufacturing grew an annual 5.8 percent in the quarter, slowing from 9.6 percent in the December quarter, while construction growth jumped to 12.6 percent from 7.1 percent in the December period.

Sectors such as trade, hotels, transport and communications showed robust annual expansion of 12.4 percent in the three months to March after growing 11.5 percent the prior three months.

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