MUMBAI: India’s economy grew at a stunning 8.2 per cent in the first quarter of the 2018-19 financial year, official data showed Friday, as it charts a course to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Central Statistics Office figures showed GDP growth for April to June in Asia’s third-biggest economy improved from 7.7pc in the previous quarter.

The latest figures, which mark India’s highest growth rate in eight quarters, shot up from 5.6pc for the same period last year and reinforces the nation’s status as one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

“The Q1 figures were higher than we expected. Exports, infrastructure and industry activity have picked up pace,” Sujan Hajra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Securities, told AFP.

India became the globe’s sixth-biggest economy in 2017, pushing France into seventh place, according to figures released by the World Bank last month.

India’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $2.597 trillion at the end of 2017, against $2.582tr for France, it said.

The United States is the world’s top economy, followed by China, Japan and Germany.

Britain is currently the world’s fifth-biggest economy with a GDP of $2.622tr last year.

“Next year we are likely to overtake Britain,” Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Thursday.

He predicted that the Asian giant, with its population of 1.25 billion people, would become one of the world’s top three economies around 2030.

India’s GDP expansion is back on track after a rocky start to economic reforms implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Quarterly growth fell as low as 5.6pc in mid-2017 as the economy reeled from a shock cash ban that scrapped 86pc of currency notes.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018

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