India could not have asked for better on the last day of 2003 with economic growth shooting up to record 8.4 per cent during the second quarter of 2003-04 after years of sluggish growth, thanks to bumper agriculture production coupled with impressive performance by the industry.
Not to be left behind, services sector led by trade, hotels, transport and communication chipped in significantly with over 7 per cent growth to push up the GDP, according to the data released by the government on Wednesday.
The combined effect of the three important components -- agriculture with 4.1 per cent, manufacturing 6.8 per cent and service, led to an overall 7 per cent growth in GDP during April-September 2003-04, amid predictions of further improvement in the economy.
It is for the first time in almost a decade that economy grew by over 8 per cent to break the psychological barrier to give confidence of attaining the 10th Plan target of eight per cent annualised growth.
The high growth comes amid booming stock markets and burgeoning foreign exchange reserves, which have crossed $100 billion mark, and high inflow of foreign capital both direct and portfolio investments.
Comparatively, the economy had posted 5.2 per cent growth during April-September last year, giving rise to speculation that the 10th Plan target would again prove evasive.
The "feel good" factor was cited as one of the major reasons by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani while favouring early elections to the Lok Sabha.
After good monsoons this year, the agriculture sector rebounded with a 4.1 per cent growth during the first half of 2003-04 compared to nil growth in the same period last fiscal.
Agriculture posted a robust 7.4 per cent growth during the second quarter of this fiscal compared to 3.5 per cent decline in farm output during the year ago period and a meagre 1.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2003-04.
Manufacturing sector clocked a steady 6.8 per cent growth during the first half of this fiscal compared to 5.2 per cent in April-September 2002.
The sector grew by 7.3 per cent during the second quarter of 2003 compared to 6.4 per cent in the previous quarter and 6.5 per cent a year ago.
However, it was services like trade, hotels, transport and communication which stole the show with a phenomenal 11.9 per cent growth during the quarter ending September 30, compared to 9.6 per cent in the first three months and 8.1 per cent a year ago.
The sector grew by 10.7 per cent in the first half this fiscal compared to 7.5 per cent in the same period last year.
Financing, real estate and business services also improved its performance to 7.3 per cent during the quarter from 7.1 per cent during April-June 2003-04.
The sector grew by 7.2 per cent in the first half of this fiscal from 6.8 per cent in the year ago period.
Community, social and personal services sector also grew by a robust 8.9 per cent during the second quarter of this fiscal compared to 4.3 per cent in the first quarter and 7.8 per cent a year ago.