India Quarterly Growth Accelerates to 6.1%

The expansion was spurred by government stimulus packages.

Picking up pace from the previous quarter and signaling the country's emergence from the global downturn, India's economy grew by 6.1% in the three months to June.

The expansion, spurred by government stimulus packages and aggressive monetary easing that has made loans cheaper, was up from 5.8% growth in the March quarter, official data showed on August 31.

India's faster growth came as the Asian region as a whole rebounds from the worldwide slump. Analysts said a robust industrial performance by Asia's third-largest economy should offset the impact of a widespread drought caused by a bad monsoon. "I don't think the drought will mess up growth prospects too much," explained Dharmakirti Joshi, economist at credit rating agency Crisil. "While agriculture growth will be hit, other areas will pick up, such as industry," said Joshi.

Breakdown of gross domestic product by sector showed industrial output grew by 5%, up from 1.4%.

Excluding agriculture, overall GDP rose 6.8% on the year compared with 6.4% in the previous quarter -- the first improvement since the January-March quarter of 2008.

The economy grew by 7.8% in the same quarter last year. "We expect the (GDP) growth rate to be 6.5% or above (for the fiscal year to March 2010)," said Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla.

Growth slowed to 6.7% last year as the country felt the brunt of the global downturn following three years of at least 9% annual expansion.

The economy "has emerged from the disruption created by the global financial crisis," said leading business lobby the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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