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Last Updated: Monday, 9 February, 2004, 11:17 GMT
India's economy 'to grow by 8%'
Indian farmers in a rice paddy
The farming sector is expected to grow by as much as 9%
India's economy is expected to grow by over 8% in 2003/04, boosted by a rebound in the country's farming sector, officials have said.

The best monsoon in 10 years has helped the economy recover from meagre 4% growth in 2002/03, the Central Statistical Organisation said.

The farming sector, a mainstay of India's economy, is predicted to grow by 9% over the forecast period.

Higher rural incomes are predicted to boost demand for manufactured goods.

Political gain

The services sector, which drives India's economy, is set to grow 8.4% in 2003/04 compared with 7.1% in the previous year.

Finance Minister Jaswant Singh said last week his country's economy had "never been better", and that it was India's "national destiny" to be a leading global power.

India's government has already increased its growth forecast for 2003/04 to 7.5-8%, up from 7% in its interim budget published last week.

The ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has called for early elections, hoping to benefit from the economic boom and progress made in peace talks with Pakistan.


SEE ALSO:
Indian economy 'better than ever'
03 Feb 04  |  Business
Countdown to Indian election
12 Jan 04  |  South Asia
Boom time for India's economy
31 Dec 03  |  Business
India farm subsidies set to stay
24 Nov 03  |  Business
Heavy rains boost Indian growth
10 Nov 03  |  Business


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