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Economy to grow beyond 8.4%: Jaswant

January 02, 2004 20:07 IST

Buoyed by 8.4 per cent growth in the second quarter, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh said on Friday that growth of India's gross domestic product would be even better in the subsequent quarters and the Sensex crossing the magic 6,000-mark reflected the strong economic fundamentals and well-being of the economy.

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"The economy will do even better (than 8.4 per cent) in the coming months," Singh said, adding Sensex had touched 6,027 despite stringent regulation of stock market, showing "soundness and stability" of the economy.

The minister parried a question as to whether he would be presenting a vote-on-account in the face of speculation that there will be early polls.

"As of now our preparation for presenting a full-budget is on. Whatever Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decides (on early Lok Sabha polls), we shall act on it," Singh told Doordarshan in an interview.

Explaining the expectations of higher than 8.4 per cent growth in the third and fourth quarters this fiscal, finance secretary D C Gupta said the third quarter would reflect fully the good kharif production pushing up growth further.

The bumper rabi production due to good rains this year will boost the growth rate further in the fourth quarter, he said, adding the services sector too recorded over 8 per cent growth so far this year coupled with revival or manufacturing sector at over seven per cent.

"By all estimates, the growth rate would cross 8.4 per cent," Gupta said, pointing out that the GDP growth in the first half of this year was 7.1 per cent.

Asked if the BSE Sensex crossing 6,000 mark was of concern as it could turn out to be a bubble, the finance minister said, "We have the experience of two JPCs (on stock scams) and market regulator Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) was keeping a close watch."

But the fact that it had crossed 6000 despite stringent regulations went to show it reflected the real growth in the economy and this growth momentum would be kept up, Singh said.

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