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Slump is now a reality

New Delhi, Feb. 7: Forget the feel-good stories. The economic slump is once again a reality. Advance estimates of the country’s economic ratios dished out by the government today projects a significant fall in the gross domestic product, the national income and per capita income in the current fiscal 2002-03.

According to the latest estimates released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), GDP will fall to the level of 4.4 per cent during 2002-03 as against 5.6 per cent during the previous fiscal.

National income, which is GDP plus India’s net earnings from foreign trade, and per capita income are also estimated to fall to 4.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively during the current fiscal.

The national income growth stood at 6.2 per cent and the per capita income grew at 4.3 per cent during 2001-02, according to figures released by CSO.

Economists working for the department of economic affairs said, “This means we will have to re-work many of the budgetary figures, especially our projections for excise and customs collections as they are largely dependent on GDP growth.”

Economists said while low farm growth was mainly on account of the drought-like situation in many parts of the country, industrial production too had suffered mainly because subdued inflation and existing demand constraints have led to deceleration in the middle of this financial year.

Export growth has also been low and is forecast by finance ministry officials to be about 8.9 per cent over the last quarter of this fiscal. The low figure is being explained by a stronger rupee which makes it less profitable to sell abroad and by lower global demand fuelled by war fears.

An official government statement said that led by a negative 3.1 per cent growth of agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors, the GDP growth rate of 4.4. per cent has been ascribed mainly due to over 5 per cent growth in manufacturing, electricity, gas, real estate and hotels, transport and communication sectors.

The net national product (NNP) at factor cost, also known as national income, at 1993-94 prices is likely to be Rs 11,61,966 crore during 2002-03 as against the previous year’s quick estimate for the year 2001-02 of Rs 11,15,157 crore.

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