Economic survey pegs Himachal growth rate at 7.5 %

Shimla: Low productivity of fruit crops notwithstanding, Himachal is expected to achieve a growth rate of 7.5 percent for 2009-10 that is likely going to beat the projected national growth rate of 7.2 percent for the financial year, the state economic survey report released today held out.

The survey report expects the per capita income for 2009-10 to touch Rs 49,211 against Rs 44,538 in 2008-09 and Rs 40,107 in 2007-08. However the 10th Plan (2002-07) growth rate at 7.6 percent was 0.2 percent lower than the national average.

Whereas the state economy grew at a rate of 8.6 percent in 2007-08, and 7.4 percent in 2008-09, it was expected to better the nation growth rate by about 0.3 percent, said the chief minister after table the report in the Vidhan Sabha.

The long drought spell in 2009 has been reflected with food grain production estimated a 9.56 lakh tons, which down from 14 lakh tons in the previous financial year. Fruit crop production which was 6.28 lakh tons in 2008-09, in the current year till December it was only 3.31 tons. Apple production that constitutes bulk of the fruit produced in the state was only 2.8 lakh tons by December against a production of 5.10 lakh tons in 2008-09.

The economy is expected to grow higher than the national average in spite of the fact that Himachal is heavily dependent upon agriculture and its allied activities and any fluctuation does impact growth.

Impact of the special incentives for industries allowed in the state have shown the weightage in economy shifting from agriculture to industry. Agriculture contributed about 18 percent towards state domestic product in 2008-09 and industry made up for 15.6 percent of it, the survey records. In 1990-91, agriculture’s share in the economy stood at 26.5 percent and industry was 10 percent.

The gross domestic product that was Rs 36,924 in 2008-09 was expected to reach Rs 42,278 crore in 2009-10, the survey estimates.

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