India lowers growth target to 4.4 percent in 2002-03

Thursday, 27 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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The Indian government Thursday lowered the economic growth target for fiscal year ending March 2003 to 4.4 percent from an earlier estimate of 5 to 5.5 percent following a sharp dip in agriculture output.

NEW DELHI: "Agriculture and allied sector growth is likely to register a decline of 3.1 percent in the current year due to the severity of drought," said the government in its annual economic survey for fiscal 2002-03.

"This would obviously adversely affect the current year's GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate, which is likely to fall to 4.4 percent compared to 5.6 percent last year (2001-02)," said the survey presented to Parliament.

The economic survey came a day before the presentation of the federal budget for 2003-02 by Finance Minister Jaswant Singh on Friday.

In its mid-year review of the economy unveiled in December, the government had expressed confidence of achieving 5 to 5.5 percent growth in the current fiscal.

The government had been expected to lower the economic growth forecast for the year in the annual economic review, because the worst drought to hit India in three decades severely dented agricultural output.

Agriculture is crucial to the country's economy as it accounts for about a quarter of the GDP.

Rainfall in the country was 24 percent lower than normal in the annual monsoon season. Even though the monsoon revived towards the end of the season, the country continues to feel the impact of the drought.

Source: IANS

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