Sunday, Jan 04, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Jaitley said the 8.4 per cent economic growth recorded in the second quarter of the current fiscal (July-September, 2003) did not reflect the positive impact of the monsoon. It would be felt only in the third and fourth quarters. The rate in the second quarter was due to high rate of growth of 8.9 per cent in the service sector and 7.5 per cent in the manufacturing sector. Once the impact of the monsoon is reflected by way of a higher crop harvest and rural purchasing power, the growth rate in the next two quarters would be still higher.
Also, there were many other things that the country could be happy about. These includes change in the international perception of India, expulsion of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) extremists from Bhutan and "movement towards normality" in Kashmir. "No other Government in the past had such trends to show in its last year in office."
Mr. Jaitley said it was true that the higher growth rate for the second quarter rested on a low base (viz., the growth rate in the corresponding period of 2002-03).
However, any Government would be affected (in terms of its image) if there were successive years of drought. And, if there is a good monsoon the effect would be opposite.
Asked about the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) prospects in Tamil Nadu where the DMK, the Congress and the Left parties were coming together, he said voters would be "voting for a Government at the Centre and for a Prime Minister".
"A national government under Vajpayee" was clearly the choice of all voters nationwide, including Tamil Nadu.
On the appeal made by the president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, C.P. Radhakrishnan, to the AIADMK to lead the NDA in the electoral battle in the State, he said the BJP's electoral strategy would be decided upon by its national leadership.
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