India’s economy grew 9 per cent through last fiscal year — the third straight year it has expanded at such a brisk pace — helped by robust growth in the farm sector, the government said on Friday.
The new estimates beat the government's own forecast of 8.7 per cent growth in gross domestic product in 2007-08, but these also point to a sharper slowdown in manufacturing that was more than offset by buoyant growth in agricultural output.
Friday's data showed agricultural and allied activities grew 4.5 per cent, up from earlier forecast of 2.6 per cent, while manufacturing growth decelerated to 8.8 per cent from 9.4 per cent projected earlier.
"By any measure, 9 per cent growth for a developing country is very satisfactory growth in a year that has witnessed turbulence in many, many markets," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram, however, said the current financial year (2008-09) could turn out to be a difficult year and reduce growth.
"The current financial year appears even more difficult than the year that has come to an end, but I am confident we will maintain growth," he said "All taken together, there is no reason to think that it ( 2008-09) will go below 8.5," he said.
The biggest concern appear to be the slowdown in the manufacturing sector, which has been hemmed by a hardening interest rate regime.