Data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that the agriculture sector is expected to grow at 2.1% in FY18, slower than 4.9% in the previous year, while manufacturing is likely to grow at 4.6%, compared with 7.9% a year ago.
The economy is expected to grow at a four-year low of 6.5 per cent this fiscal, according to the first advance estimate of national income released by the Central Statistics Office on Friday. The GDP growth in the previous fiscal (FY 17) was at 7.1 per cent.
The good news, embedded in Mospi's early estimates, is that the economic growth momentum is expected to pick up in the second half (H2) of the current fiscal at 7% compared to the 6% growth in the first half (H1). "For this year, the nominal growth is expected to be far lower than what was estimated in the Budget, so the fiscal deficit number will have to be adjusted if the 3.2% of GDP target is to be maintained". Economic activities were affected by demonetisation announced on November 8, 2016 and subsequent implementation of a new indirect tax regime (GST) from July 1 in the current financial year. The forecast has been released a little over three weeks before finance minister Arun Jaitley presents the last full-fledged Budget of this government before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The growth rate for "Agriculture, forestry and fishing" and "Mining and quarrying" are expected to be 2.1% and 2.9%, respectively in FY2017-18.
Global rating agency Standard and Poor's had kept the growth outlook for India "stable" and rated the world's third-largest economy 'BBB-' in its latest report in November.
The EAC-PM Chairman said the advance estimate numbers only reinforce what was already known - that reforms undertaken by the government will place the economy on an upward growth trajectory, without compromising on fiscal consolidation.
GDP growth seen at four-year low
Anis Chakravarty, Lead Economist, Deloitte, said the estimate for yearly GDP showed that the growth momentum was expected to improve in the coming quarters in line with expectations and signals from leading indicators.
The CSO has primarily used seven-month data to extrapolate for the full fiscal.
The CSO's estimate on GDP growth for 2017-18 is even lower than the Reserve Bank's lowered projection of 6.7%.
"Accordingly, the advance estimates for GDP and GVA growth appear to be understating economic expansion for FY2018, in our view", Nayar said.
"As such, for a broad based recovery the rural economy needs to recover and we can expect the upcoming budget to focus on alleviating some of the stress in the rural economy and concentrating on measures to augment the flow of credit in the economy", said Chakravarty.
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