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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 07:24 GMT
Booming India expects 9.2% growth
Tata steel  plant
Manufacturing is helping to drive India's booming economy
India's economy is expected to grow by 9.2% in the current financial year, according to the Indian government.

The country's robust manufacturing and services sectors are forecast to drive growth at the fastest rate in 18 years.

The government's official growth estimate for the financial year ending in March exceeds the central bank's own forecast of between 8.5% and 9%.

Last week, India revised up economic growth for the previous financial year to 9% from 8.4%.

The country's stock market jumped to a record high above 14,570 points on the back of the latest figures for the 2006/07 period.

"This shows that growth is more sustainable this time around," said DK Joshi, a senior economist with rating agency Crisil.

"It is backed by very high investment rate, as well as good consumption and export demand."

Farming worries

Indian manufacturing output was expected to grow by 11.3%, compared with 9.1% a year ago, the central statistics office reported.

The key services sector was set to expand by 11.2%, compared with 9.8% in the previous financial year.

However, farming - which accounts for a fifth of India's gross domestic product and employs about 60% of the population - was expected to grow by just 2.7%.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that India's farming output must increase by up to 4% to ensure Asia's fourth-biggest economy expands annually by between 7% and 8% over the coming years.

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