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Himachal’s food grain production down,growth rate steady: Economic survey

After having registered a significantly high growth rate of 8.6 per cent in 2007-2008 — a year that witnessed Assembly elections and Bharatiya Janata Party’s return to power...

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla |
March 12, 2010 12:25:38 am

After having registered a significantly high growth rate of 8.6 per cent in 2007-2008 — a year that witnessed Assembly elections and Bharatiya Janata Party’s return to power,Himachal Pradesh’s growth fell back to 7.4 per cent in 2008-09. There are,however,signs of a marginal recovery in the growth rate — from 7.4 to 7.5 per cent — at the end of the current financial year.

The state’s economic survey report presented in the Assembly by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal,a day before he presents the annual budget for 2010-11,had a few shocks for all as it talked of a negative trend in the state’s food grain production and agriculture sector. According to the report,the fruit production is down from 7.13 lakh metric tonnes (MT) in 2007-08 to 6.28 lakh MT in 2008-09. During 2009-10 (up to December 2009),the production slipped further to 3.31 lakh MT.

Agriculture production,which has been a key area of the state’s economic growth,too,suffered a big blow,showing a decline of three per cent. The foodgrain production,which was 14.41 lakh MT in 2007-08,decreased to 14 lakh MT and is expected to go down further to 9.56 lakh MT in 2009-10. Experts blame it mainly on successive droughts and natural calamities.

Yet,economists say,the negative trend in the primary sector hasn’t affected the growth rate of 7.5 per cent — which is higher than the national average of 7.2 per cent. Together with this,another satisfying area happens to be the rise of secondary sectors — hydro-power,manufacturing and services.

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“It is because of these reasons that the growth rate has remained almost uniform. Had fluctuation in agriculture not been there,Himachal’s growth could have exceeded the 8.6 per cent mark,” says an official in the economics and statistics department.

The report says the state’s per capita income increased to Rs 44,538 in 2008-09 against Rs 40,107 the previous year. The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is also estimated to rise to Rs 26,646 crore from Rs 24,800 crore in 2007-08. “At current prices,the GSDP is estimated at Rs 36,924 crore against Rs 32,221 crores earlier,” says the report.

The survey finds a shift in the hill economy from agriculture to industry and other sectors. The share of agriculture and allied sectors in the total GSDP has come down from 57.9 per cent in 1950-51 to 18 per cent in 2008-09. It was 26.5 per cent in 1990-91. The share of industry and services sector increased from 1.1 and 5.9 per cent,respectively,in 1950-51 to 10 and 15.6 per cent. The contribution of other sectors also was favourable — from 35.1 per cent to 56.4 per cent.

The economic survey praises the initiatives taken by the state towards climate change mitigation and making Himachal Pradesh a carbon neutral state. “Himachal has emerged as a model state on environment protection,conservation and climate change mitigation. The state’s non-tax income increased by 15.42 per cent (around Rs 1,615 crore) in 2009-10,” the report sums up.

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