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Prasar Bharati revenues on the upswing: Economic Survey

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NEW DELHI: Indian pubcaster Prasar Bharati arrested a trend of declining earnings in 2004-05 with national broadcaster Doordarshan earning its highest revenue (Rs. 6,700 million) since 2000-01, according to the Economic Survey today.

In the economic report card of the government, the government, while presenting a rosy picture of a buoyant economy, said the total expenditure of Prasar Bharati in 2004-05 rose to Rs.16, 920 million from Rs.16, 700 million in 2003-04.

The Economic Survey stated, With total receipts increasing from Rs.6740 million in 2003-04 to Rs.8310 million in 2004-05, there was an improvement of 8.8 percentage points in the ratio of total commercial receipts to total expenditure.

The Survey added that the declining trend in commercial receipts was reversed and Doordarshan earned the highest revenue since 2000-01 amounting to Rs.6700 million.

In the Budget for 2005-06, the government has provided a sum of Rs.12, 920 million to cover the resource gap of Prasar Bharati.

With the government tabling the economic report card a day ahead of the Union Budget on 28 February 2006 and painting a rosy picture, the 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex closed firm at 10,282 with a gain of 81 points from its Friday's close.

The capital markets responded positively on Monday to the reports of over eight per cent (8.1 pc) GDP growth rate expectations reported in the Economic Survey.

However, the Survey suggested that though the economy was on a roll, there were some warning signals too, which were the risk of hardening interest rates, higher inflation and fiscal deficit in the face of global oil crisis.

Without tackling the major problem of power, it would be difficult to move on to high 8-10 per cent growth, the report card of the government said.

A news agency reported that the voluminous document advocated unburdening the industry from high level of taxes and decorative exemptions that provided perverse incentives. It also favoured levying user charges and cutting unwanted subsidies.

Services sector growth continued to be broad based, according to the Economic Survey

Among the three sub-sectors of services, trade, hotels, transport and communication services continued to lead by growing at double-digit rates for the third successive year.

However, community, social and personal services, which include public administration and defence, reflecting the process of fiscal consolidation and increasing efficiency of fiscal expenditure management, experienced a growth deceleration of more than a percentage point.

Macroeconomic Overview

In a robust demonstration of its nascent strengths, the Indian economy, after growing at 8.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent in the two previous years, is projected to grow at 8.1 per cent in the current year 2005-06.

Growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices in excess of 8.0 per cent has been achieved by the economy in only five years of recorded history and two out of these five are in the last three years.

After dipping below 1.0 per cent in 2004-05, mostly on account of erratic rainfall, agricultural and allied sectors growth in 2005-06 is projected at 2.3 per cent.

With farm prospects good --- India is still essentially an agrarian economy --- some significant dimensions of the dynamic growth in recent years are a new industrial resurgence, a pick up in investment, modest inflation in spite of spiraling global crude prices, rapid growth in exports and imports with a widening of the current account deficit and laying of some institutional foundations for faster development of physical infrastructure.

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