GDP growth may sink to 6.5%

A worker uses a welding torch to weld an iron machine at the construction site of a flyover in New Delhi

Gross Value Added (GVA) was also projected to expand by 6.1% in 2017-18, slowing from 6.6% in the preceding fiscal year, according to the first advance estimates of national income for 2017-18, released by the CSO. But before the GDP figures announced, Finance Ministry officials said slower economic growth was likely to hit revenue collections this year, forcing them to resort to borrow from the market to meet spending targets.

The estimates will be a key input for the preparation of the Union Budget 2018-19 that will be tabled in Parliament on February 1. The Indian economy recovered from its three-year low of 5.7% GDP growth in the June quarter to grow at 6.3% in the September quarter.

The government estimated that gross value added (GVA), which is GDP minus net taxes, will grow at 6.1 percent in 2017-18. The data also showed massive rural distress as the agricultural output inflation rate (measured by GDP deflators) is expected to fall to 0.7 per cent against 4.1 per cent over this period, a development that may set the direction for the Budget, which is less than a month away. Many economists have blamed the chaotic implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July for the reduced GDP.

Similarly, manufacturing, the fulcrum of "Make in India" initiative too is expected to decelerate substantially from the previous year.

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India may not be the "fastest growing large economy " With the drop in the GDP growth, India might lose the tag of being the fastest growing large economy to China if the forecasts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) come true. The growth in the manufacturing sector is expected to be at 4.6% this year as against 7.9% in 2016-17.

The construction sector will grow at 3.6% in 2017-18 as against 1.7% in 2016-17. If the economy grows at 6.8 per cent in Q3 and 7.2 per cent in Q4 supported by base effects, we are likely to achieve the CSO advance estimates.

The growth in financial, real estate and professional services sector is, however, expected to be better than a year ago at 7.3%. The fiscal deficit at the end of November was 12% more than the full-year budget estimate.

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