'Indian economic growth to pick up in 2003'

Thursday, 17 April 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's economic growth is expected to register an increase in the current year over 2002 but the quantum will depend on recovery in the global economy, says a U.N. survey released Thursday.

"In 2003 the prospects are for a pick up in the overall GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate, especially in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka," said the report by the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

"However, uncertainties remains - these are primarily external and could affect export growth adversely if growth in the global economy remains tentative or if prolonged military hostilities take place in Iraq," it added.

The survey pointed out that despite severe weather disturbances and unfavourable external factors, the growth momentum in India remained relatively strong last year.

The economy expanded by 4.4 percent in 2002 compare to 5.6 percent in 2001.

"Barring major internal and external shocks and adverse climatic conditions, India is likely to sustain GDP growth rates in the range of six to seven percent from 2003 to 2005," it said.

Agriculture output in India dropped 3.1 percent in 2002 following a widespread and severe drought, contributing to a decline in the share of agriculture in GDP from 23.8 percent to 22.2 percent between 2000 and 2002.

"Given the absence of any evidence of a strong pickup in the global economy, at least in the first half of 2003, the war in Iraq and other geopolitical uncertainties, sustaining growth in the (Asia Pacific) region will depend primarily upon domestic policies," the survey said.

"The momentum of trade liberalisation, including action in trade facilitation, should be maintained," it said, adding the programmes of reform of the corporate and financial sectors must continue to be implemented with "renewed vigour" to enhance investor confidence.

Source: IANS
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