We begin the good news on the economy, which is a step closer to a GDP growth of 9% this fiscal. Government figures released on Tuesday beat all estimates, with the economy growing 8.9% in the second quarter. The government also revised its estimates for the previous two quarters to the very same 8.9%.
The second quarter has seen robust growth across sectors. India’s agriculture grew 4.4% for the period, helped along by a good monsoon. Services expanded 9.8% in the same time. And industry including construction grew 8.9%.
Tuesday’s figures were welcomed by policymakers. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the growth may have been greater than previously thought. He added that annual GDP growth would be no less than 8.7-8.75% this fiscal. Meanwhile, Kaushik Basu, the finance minister’s chief economic advisor said 9% growth for the fiscal was no longer impossible.
And in other news, the latest attempt at breaking the deadlock in Parliament has failed. The government and opposition parties stuck to their old stances at an all-party meet on Tuesday. Opposition parties want a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate alleged graft in the allocation of second generation spectrum. But the government has rejected that demand. Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar who convened Tuesday’s meeting said she would continue to try and break the deadlock. Parliament hasn’t conducted any legislative business since its winter session started on 9 November.
The US is trying to contain the fallout from the WikiLeaks exposé on relations with India. On Tuesday ambassador Timothy Roemer said the U S welcomed what he called “a greater global leadership role for India.” Roemer’s comments came after leaked documents revealed that secretary of state Hillary Clinton had called India one of the “self-appointed frontrunners” for a permanent United Nations Security Council seat. Earlier in November, president Obama endorsed the idea of India joining the UNSC.