For the current financial year, the economy is expected to clock a growth rate of 6.7 per cent, said the World Bank’s biannual publication, India Development Update: India’s Growth Story. The report, however, observed that a growth of over 8 per cent will require “continued reform and a widening of their scope” aimed at resolving issues related to credit and investment, and enhancing competitiveness of exports.
“The Indian economy is likely to recover from the impact of demonetisation and the GST, and growth should revert slowly to a level consistent with its proximate factors — that is, to about 7.5 per cent a year,” the report said.
“While services will continue to remain the main driver of economic growth, industrial activity is poised to grow, with manufacturing expected to accelerate following the implementation of the GST, and agriculture will likely grow at its long-term average growth rate,” it said.
In November 2016, the government had scrapped high value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in a bid to check black money, among others.
Later, India implemented its biggest indirect tax reform — Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Both of these initiatives had impacted the economic activities in the country in short run.
World Bank’s India Country Director Junaid Ahmad said India’s long-term growth has become more steady, stable, diversified and resilient.
“In the long-run, for higher growth to be sustainable and inclusive, India needs to use land and water, which are increasingly becoming scarce resources, more productively, make growth more inclusive, and strengthen its public sector to meet the challenges of a fast growing, globalizing and increasingly middle-class economy,” he added.
Poonam Gupta, the lead economist and the main author of the report, said that durable revival in private investments and exports would be crucial for India achieving a sustained high growth of 8 percent and above.
“This will require continued impetus for structural reforms. Resorting to countercyclical policies will not help spur sustained growth and India should not compromise its hard-earned fiscal discipline in order to accelerate growth,” she added.
India’s economic growth had slipped to a three year low of 5.7 per cent in April-June quarter of the current fiscal, though it recovered in the subsequent quarters. The economy is expected to grow at 6.6 per cent in the current fiscal ending March 31, as per the second advanced estimates of the Central Statistics Office (CSO), compared to 7.1 per cent in 2016-17. The earlier estimate was 6.5 per cent. The Economic Survey tabled in Parliament has projected a growth rate of 7 to 7.5 per cent in the 2018-19 financial year.
The World Bank report further said that accelerating the growth rate will also require continued integration into global economy.
It pitches for making growth more inclusive and enhancing the effectiveness of the Indian public sector.