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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
India records double digit growth
Indian farmers in a rice paddy
Agriculture employs 600 million Indians
The best monsoon rains in a decade have helped India enjoy double digit economic growth.

The country's economy grew by 10.4% between October and December 2003, aided by a 16.9% rise in agricultural output, thanks to the monsoons.

India, Asia's third largest economy, saw manufacturing increase by 7.4% during the same third quarter period.

India's economy has grown steadily over the past year, a boost to the government in the election next month.

The Central Statistical Organisation's 10.4% Indian growth figure for October to December - compared to the same quarter in 2002 - is higher than China's 9.9%.

Agriculture accounts for almost a quarter of India's economy and employs more than 600 million people.

The country has also benefited from a growing trend of companies in Europe and the US to outsource production, or facilities such as call centres, to India.

In previous quarter, the overall Indian economy grew by 8.4% in July to September, and 5.7% in April to June, again both when compared to the same quarters in 2002.

The monsoons follow after a number of droughts that limited Indian agricultural production.

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