From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Indian economics indicators, facts , reports etc.
Mains level : Assessment of the Indian economy, Concerns and way ahead
- The Indian economy is in a state of ambiguity, with different viewpoints and statistics painting a fuzzy picture. While some argue that India is well-positioned to be an economic superpower, the true picture is not that straightforward.
An assessment of the Indian economy based on various factors
- According to the MPC meeting minutes, inflation is under control, but households are witnessing an increase in the prices of goods and services.
- While the base effect will bring down the inflation numbers, households still complain of having a cumulative inflation of over 18 per cent in the last three years.
- The growth picture is ambivalent, with the new normal appearing to be 6-7 per cent.
- While some argue that India is the fastest-growing economy, this is only true if smaller nations are excluded.
- There is not too much optimism about being on track for the 8 per cent-plus growth rate, which we were used to earlier.
- Exports: While there has been satisfaction expressed by the new heights achieved in the exports of goods and services, exports of merchandise are not too satisfactory. For example, if refinery products are excluded from the export’s basket, there has been a fall in FY23.
- The official position is that investment is picking up in the private sector, but data on all funding sources show that there is a slowdown.
- Bank credit is buoyant more on the retail end than manufacturing. Debt issuances are dominated by the financial sector with manufacturing lagging.
- External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs) have slowed down mainly due to the higher cost of loans.
- Consumption: The consumption picture is also fuzzy, with nominal consumption growing by 16 per cent in FY23, but this is pushed up by inflation, and pent-up demand for both goods and services post the full removal of the lockdown in 2022.
- The average unemployment rate is around 7.5 per cent, but the concern is more on the labour participation rate, which has been coming down. This indicates a growing population in the working age group that is not interested in working.
- Start-ups have not yet been job creators to the degree that was expected, given the push by the government over the years.
- Banking sector: The banking sector has emerged stronger with lower NPA levels and improved profitability, which implies that as and when the economy gets into the take-off mode, banks will be well-equipped to provide the funds.
Facts for prelims: Basics
|External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs):
What are the concerns?
- Employment Generation: The decline in the labor force participation rate and layoffs in certain sectors raise significant challenges in terms of job creation and reducing unemployment levels.
- Manufacturing Competitiveness: The decline in merchandise exports (excluding refinery products) indicates potential hurdles in enhancing the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector and expanding exports.
- Execution of Investment Intentions: The gap between investment intentions and actual investments is a concern as it indicates potential bottlenecks or challenges in translating investment plans into action.
- Consumption Growth and Affordability: Affordability issues due to inflation impacting real consumption growth raise concerns about sustained consumer demand.
- Export Diversification: The dependence on a few economies for exports and the potential impact of a global economic slowdown on Indian exports are concerns. Diversifying export destinations and exploring new markets can help reduce vulnerability to global economic fluctuations and strengthen export resilience.
- Effective Implementation of Banking Sector Reforms: While improvements have been observed in the banking sector, concerns about funding sources and the need for increased credit flow to the manufacturing sector indicate ongoing challenges.
- Focus on inflation control: While the MPC has managed to keep inflation under control from a policy perspective, efforts should continue to address the impact of rising prices on households. Measures to enhance supply chain efficiency, promote competition, and reduce production costs can help alleviate inflationary pressures.
- Promote sustainable and inclusive growth: While the current growth rate is positive, efforts should be made to achieve higher and more inclusive growth. This can be done by investing in infrastructure development, skill development programs, and initiatives that support the growth of MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises).
- Boost exports: Enhancing the competitiveness of Indian goods and services in global markets is crucial for a robust export sector. Continued efforts to improve the ease of doing business, implement the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme effectively, and diversify export destinations can help boost exports.
- Facilitate investment: Policy measures should focus on encouraging private sector investment and reducing funding bottlenecks. This can involve improving the ease of doing business, simplifying regulatory processes, and providing incentives for both domestic and foreign investments.
- Strengthen consumer demand: Initiatives to support consumer demand can include income support programs, targeted subsidies, and measures to enhance consumer confidence. Reducing the impact of inflation on household budgets and boosting purchasing power can help drive consumption growth.
- Address unemployment and labor force participation: Policies aimed at promoting skill development, entrepreneurship, and job creation can help address unemployment concerns. Encouraging sectors with higher labor-intensive potential, such as manufacturing and services, and supporting start-ups and MSMEs can be vital in generating employment opportunities.
- Continue banking sector reforms: While the banking sector has made progress in reducing NPAs and improving profitability, ongoing reforms should be sustained to strengthen the sector further. Maintaining prudent lending practices, enhancing risk management frameworks, and promoting transparency and governance will be essential.
- Foster domestic innovation and technology adoption: Encouraging innovation, research and development, and technology adoption can boost productivity and competitiveness across sectors. This can be achieved through policies that promote collaboration between industry and academia, provide incentives for innovation, and invest in digital infrastructure.
- Maintain macroeconomic stability: Ensuring fiscal discipline, sound monetary policy, and a stable regulatory environment will be crucial for sustaining macroeconomic stability. This can help maintain investor confidence and provide a conducive environment for economic growth.
- The Indian economy’s broad numbers look statistically realistic, but the triad of employment, consumption, and private investment has to bear fruit. Domestic initiatives have to drive the story forward, as the world economy slows down.
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|Indian Economic Growth Prospects: A Comprehensive Analysis|