New Delhi, Sept. 30: Silencing the prophets of gloom, the government today released figures that show the economy grew at the rate of 6 per cent in the first quarter of 2002-03 compared with a less salutary 3.5 per cent in the same period of the previous fiscal.
Despite low-growth projections by NCAER and the World Bank, the GDP tally held up better than expected, primarily because of positive growth in all sectors except community, welfare and personal services.
According to data released by Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), agriculture grew at the rate of 4.4 per cent in April-June 2002 against 1.1 per cent in April-June 2001; manufacturing clocked 3.8 per cent compared with 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of last year.
Seven of the eight sectors that sent in figures recorded an improvement in the first quarter. Mining and quarrying registered a growth rate of 5.3 per cent in April-June period over a negative 0.3 per cent.
The construction sector, considered a key mover, grew at 6.3 per cent compared with negative growth of 0.2 per cent in the same quarter of last year.
Community, social and personal services was the only segment that witnessed a marginal fall with growth pegged at 5.6 per cent in the first quarter this year over 6.5 per cent in the last fiscal.
Electricity, gas and water supply sector grew at the rate of 5.3 per cent. Trade, hotels, transport and communication racked up a 7.4 per cent increase, while financing, real estate and business services taken together turned in an impressive tally of 9.7 per cent.
According to the estimates available on the index of industrial production (IIP), mining, manufacturing and electricity registered growth rates of 7 per cent, 3.8 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively during the first quarter of the current fiscal.
Among services, the key indicators of railways — the net tonne kilometres and passenger kilometres — have shown growth rates of 8.7 cent and a negative 0.7 per cent respectively in the first three months of this fiscal. The increase in goods tonnage is supposed to be a good indicator of growth.
According to information provided by the department of agriculture and co-operation, which has been used in compiling the estimates of GDP from agriculture in the first quarter of 2002-03, all Rabi crops have registered positive growth rates. Rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses recorded growth rates of 6.2, 3.9, 26.2 and 3.6 per cent respectively during the Rabi season that ended in June 2002.
In absolute terms, the GDP during April-June period stood at Rs 3,11,867 crore compared with Rs 294,299 crore in the same period last year. According to a release issued by CSO, GDP grew 8.1 per cent in April-June at current prices, up from 7.9 per cent in the same period of the previous financial year.
Lid on deficit
The Centre restricted its fiscal deficit to Rs 55,496 crore during the first five months against Rs 1,35,524 crore budgeted for the entire fiscal, mainly due to buoyant revenues.