By Arabinda Ghose
Although there have been criticisms, even from among the NDA partners, after the results of the Lok Sabha elections were announced in May 2004 at the ?India shining? slogan given at that time, it is time that those who had levelled these criticisms should withdraw them.
For, India did shine during the NDA regime?may not be everywhere?and the Central Statistical Organisation (CSP) of the Government of India had put its seal of approval on this slogan, as it were, by publishing on January 31 the revised figures for the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2003-2004. These must have been one of the highest in the world and although unseated, the Atal Behari Vajpayee government can take full credit for this performance on the economic front.
Again, it is agriculture which has resulted in the upward revision of the GDP growth rate?with a high growth rate of 10.30 per cent in 2003-2004?despite the somewhat indifferent monsoon rains.
Two factors stand out in this. First, the GP rose from 4 per cent in the drought period in 2002-2003 and the scintillating upward swing in agricultural GDP in 2002-2003 (of ?8 per cent to + 10.3 per cent) in 2003-2004. This goes to prove that even with only about 22 per cent of the GDP for the entire country, agriculture still remains the mainstay of Indian economy, particularly for the farmers and farm labourers.
All these figures are at constant (that is 1993-94) prices, and not current prices, according to which the growth rate would be 11.7 per cent in 2003-04. In terms of finance, the GDP in 2003-04 rose from Rs 22,54,188 crore to Rs 25,19,785 crore at current prices. At constant prices they were Rs 14,30,548 crore and Rs 13,18,362 crores respectively.