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India's economy grows by 7.4% in second quarter

[MUMBAI] India's economy grew by 7.4 per cent in the second quarter, official figures showed on Monday, outperforming China and slightly ahead of analysts' expectations.

Growth in the three months to the end of September quickened to 7.4 per cent year-on year from 7.0 per cent in the previous quarter, according to statistics ministry data.

The figures for the second quarter of the financial year were marginally higher than the median forecast of 7.3 per cent in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News.

They also bettered China's 6.9 per cent increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded for the same period and reported by Beijing last month.

The figures are a boost for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party which suffered a drubbing at a key state election earlier this month.

Modi has made boosting economic growth a priority since sweeping to power in a general election in May 2014 and India has now recorded three straight quarters of growth above seven per cent.

But investors have raised concerns about the pace of promised economic reform needed to create jobs for India's tens of millions of young people.

Investors are hoping Modi's government will be able to reach a consensus with opposition parties and push reforms through the current session of parliament, including one that paves the way for a long-awaited national sales tax.

The positive data makes it likely Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan will choose to keep interest rates unchanged when the central bank holds its monetary policy review meeting on Tuesday.

Monday's numbers were the latest growth data to be released since the government introduced a revised formula for calculating GDP that some analysts have criticised.

India's government changed the way it calculates GDP in January, saying the new method was closer to international standards.

The main change is that India now measures its economic growth at market prices to incorporate "gross value addition" in goods and services as well as indirect taxes.

The base year to calculate India's GDP has also been advanced to 2011-12 from 2004-05.

But analysts say the new data does not correlate with some other economic indicators, including last year's industrial production figures and corporate profits.