GDP growth put at 8.6% in 05-06

Mumbai, March 21 | Updated: Mar 22 2006, 05:30am hrs
Despite negative growth in agriculture, Maharashtras gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to increase to 8.6% in 2005-06 compared to 8.4% in the previous year. The state economic survey for 2005-06 clearly admits that the state has the potential to achieve 10% GDP growth only after accelerating the growth rate of agriculture which is plagued by low productivity.

According to the survey, the bottlenecks in the development of agriculture sector need to be identified and removed on a war footing. Increasing productivity of traditional crops, diversifying to commercial crops, crop planning with effective use of improved seeds and other inputs, establishing group processing units and cold storage chains, creation of efficient market and market information are the thrust areas of the farm sector.

The growth rate of agriculture and allied sectors gross state domestic product (GSDP) for the state in 2002-03 was (-)1.8%, (-)7.6% in 2003-04 and (-2.1) in 2004-05. The annual GSDP growth of the farm sector and allied sector during the first three years of 10th plan period averages to (-4.9)%.

The survey reiterated that though the state economy is growing at a robust rate in the recent years, negative growth in the agriculture sector is hampering the overall economic performance of the state. It is therefore, essential to view the growth of this sector seriously.

Against this backdrop, the robust industrial and service sector has remained the driving force for the 8% plus growth rate. However, in order to maintain its leading position as an industrialised state, the government would have to pay more attention on the creation of sound and upgraded infrastructure especially power, ports and road network.

The bottlenecks in the power sector continue to be a matter of concern as power cuts and poor quality of supply are rampant in the state and it has become a regular phenomenon.

The peak demand of electricity in the state during 2004-05 was 14,822 mega watt which was met by 3,045 mega watt of load shedding. The now-unbundled Maharashtra State Electricity Board has suffered extremely high transmission and distribution losses of 35%.