Himachal To Fall Short In Growth Rate Target For 2007-08

Shimla: Falling short of a growth target of 9.3 percent for 2007-08, the state was likely to achieve a growth rate of 8.5 percent for the fiscal which was lower than the 8.7 percent growth for the national level, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal stated in the Vidhan Sabha while laying the economic survey report, today.

The state had recorded a growth of 9.2 percent in 2006-07, he said.

Citing reasons for the slow down in the growth rate, the chief minister who also holds the finance portfolio said that the state economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture and its allied activities. “Any fluctuation in agriculture production affected the overall growth rate,” he said.

The average growth rate during the 10th Plan works out to 7.6 percent against a national average of 7.8 percent, said Dhumal.

However, he said that the economy had shown a marked shift from agriculture to industries and services as the percentage contribution of agriculture and its allied sectors in the total state domestic product had declined from 26.5 per cent in 1990-91 to 17.80 per cent in 2006-07.

“Declining share of agriculture does not affect its importance as the state economic growth is still determined by the trend in agriculture production”, he said.

He said that containing prices and inflation was the top priority for the government as the consumer price index for the state had marginally increased by 0.8 per cent, against a 4.7 per cent at the national level.

The state had made significant progress in development of horticulture and had recorded a production of 6.96 lakh tons till December in 2007-08. Additional 4000 hectares of land is proposed to be brought under fruit crops, said Dhumal.

“Production of off-season vegetables has also shown growth and 9.91 lakh tonnes of vegetables were produced during 2006-07 which was 6.6 percent higher than the previous year,” he said.

The chief minister said that harnessing of hydro power was emerging as a major contributor for speedier economic growth in the state. The power policy had been made to address aspects like capacity addition, energy security, access and availability, affordability, efficiency, environment and assured employment.

“So far only 31.2 percent of the identified hydro power potential had been tapped,” he said.

Speaking about tourism, he said that it had also emerged as a major sector in the development of the states economy and because of the liberalized and competitive environment, Himachal Pradesh was now being considered a preferred destination, not only for tourism but industry and power also.

“In the current fiscal the state has hosted over 88 lakh tourists of which about3.40 lakh were foreign tourists”, he said.

“The states per capita income at current prices was likely to touch Rs 39,819 in 2007-08 where as it was Rs 36,657 in last financial year. Himachal per capita income was a good 20 per cent higher than the national level”, said Dhumal

The state domestic product (GSDP) for the year was estimated to touch Rs 31,974 crore where as it was Rs 28,358 crores in the last financial said the chief minister.

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