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Vajpayee predicts nine percent growth rate by May

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Saturday predicted a nine percent growth rate by May this year. Vajpayee's comments came a day after Finance Minister Jaswant Singh announced a phenomenal 8.9 percent growth in the third quarter of 2003-04. Speaking at a felicitation ceremony here, Vajpayee said the growth was not just based on agriculture but was propelled by impressive performance in industry, services and exports. "We should get ready for fierce competition around us. Our policies should be implemented well. Country is full of expectations. Growth rate is 8.9 percent at present and I am telling you that it will be nine percent three months later," said Vajpayee. The growth rate has brought cheer to India's ruling federal coalition ahead of national polls, expected around April-May, and has made the home of one-sixth of the world's population also one of its fastest-growing economies.

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