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Government data released on Friday showed the economy shrank 7.5 percent in the July-September quarter, performing better than analysts' expectation of an 8.8 percent contraction as lockdowns were eased and some pent-up demand was met. In the April-June period, the economy shrank 23.9 percent.
Annual growth of 3.4 percent in farm sector and 0.6 percent in manufacturing during the September quarter has raised hopes of an early recovery and some service sectors such as trade, hotels and transport contracted at a much slower pace compared with the April-June period.
Trade, hotel, transport, communication & services related to broadcasting reported a contraction of 15.6 percent in the September quarter, against a contraction of 47 percent in the previous quarter.
Farmers, benefiting from a bumper crop, are lapping up tractors while demand for personal vehicles, due to a lack of public transport and the need for safer travel options, has boosted sales of cars and motorcycles.
Maruti Suzuki, India's biggest carmaker, had a 10 percent growth in rural sales between July and September versus a 4 percent rise overall, led by small, entry-level models, said Shashank Srivastava, executive director, marketing and sales.
Since the end of May, when the government lifted a ban on flights, monthly domestic passenger traffic has more than doubled from 2 million in June to over 5 million in October. But that is still down from about 12 million a year ago. India's biggest carrier IndiGo and rival Vistara are seeing an uptick in business travel but to a much smaller extent than before.