India's Economic Growth Slows In December

India's economy grew 7.6% in the three months to December from the same period a year ago, its slowest quarterly rate in the fiscal year to March but the government said Feb. 28 it was still on track for an 8.1% rate in the 12 months. The full-year forecast of 8.1% which would be the fastest pace in two years, compares to growth of 7.5% a year earlier.

India's economy, the third largest in Asia at more than $600 billion, grew 8.1% and 8% in the first two quarters of the fiscal year. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who presented the federal budget Feb. 28, told parliament the government was aiming for an annual growth rate of 10% in coming years.

Growth in India was led by a rise of 9.1% in the country's service industries that account for almost half of the economy.

India's growth rate in Asia lags only China's 9.9% rise for the quarter ended December 31 from a year earlier.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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