Issues related to Economic growth

Why Private Investment is Lagging in India?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : private investment in manufacturing and economic growth



  • Last month, Finance Minister asked captains of industry what was holding them back from investing in manufacturing. She likened industry to Lord Hanuman from the Ramayana by stating that industry did not realize its own strength and that it should forge ahead with confidence. She said, “This is the time for India, we cannot miss the bus”.

What is present situation of private investment?

  • Tax cut rate of domestic companies: In the hope of revitalizing private investment, the government had in September 2019 cut the tax rate for domestic companies from 30% to 22% if they stopped availing of any other tax SOP (standard operating procedure).
  • Weak private investment: Expert says that Indian private sector investment has been weak for almost a decade now. If we look at drivers of economic growth right now, there are amber lights flashing. The export story will be under threat because of the global slowdown, the government’s ability to support domestic demand would also be limited as the fiscal deficit comes down.
  • Impact of k-shaped recovery: Because of the K-shaped recovery, private consumption is only concentrated in some parts of the income pyramid.


Analyzing the investment scenario

  • Investment to GDP ratio: As in the June edition of the Ministry of Finance’s Monthly Economic Review, the fixed investment to GDP ratio was 32% in 2021-22. However, there is need for caution in reading the most recent data, as they are subject to revision.
  • The National Accounts Statistics: It provides disaggregation of gross capital formation (GCF) by sectors, type of assets and modes of financing; over 90% of GCF consists of fixed investments.
  • No change in investment distribution: The investment distribution has hardly changed over the last decade, with the public sector’s share remaining 20%.
  • Fall in share of agriculture and industry: Between 2014-15 and 2019-20, the shares of agriculture and industry in fixed capital formation/GDP fell from 7.7% and 33.7% to 6.4% and 32.5%, respectively.
  • Rise in service sectors: Services’ share rose to 52.3% in 2019-20 compared to 49% in 2014-15.The rise in the services sector is almost entirely on transport and communications. The share of transport has doubled from 6.1% to 12.9% during the same period. Within transportation, it is mostly roads.
  • Decline in the share of investment: Its share in the investment ratio (column 2.1) fell from 19.2% in 2011-12 to 16.5% in 2019-20. This indicates that ‘Make in India’ failed to take off, import dependence went up, and India became deindustrialised. Import dependence on China is alarming for critical materials such as fertilizers, bulk drugs (active pharmaceutical ingredients or APIs) and capital goods. Instead of boosting investment and domestic technological capabilities, the ‘Make in India’ campaign frittered away time and resources to raise India’s rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.
  • Decline in foreign capital in GFC: The contribution of foreign capital to financing GCF fell to 2.5% in 2019-20 from 3.8% in 2014-15 (or 11.1% in 2011-12). With declining investment share, industrial output growth rate fell from 13.1% in 2015-16 to a negative 2.4% in 2019-20, as per the National Accounts Statistics.


What is Consumer’s demand situation?

  • Average Consumer sentiment index: Private companies invest when they are able to estimate profits, and that comes from demand. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) consumer sentiment index is still below pre-pandemic levels but is far higher than what was seen 12-18 months ago.
  • Buoyant Aggregate demand: RBI’s Monetary policy report dated September 30 says, Data for Q2 (ended Sept) indicate that aggregate demand remained buoyant, supported by the ongoing recovery in private consumption and investment demand. It shows that seasonally adjusted capacity utilization rose to 74.3% in Q1 the highest in the last three years.
  • High household savings: Along with household savings intentions remaining high, might hold the key to the investment cycle kicking in.



  • Both public and private investment is necessary for sustainable growth trajectory of any economy. Global uncertainty, Ukraine war, oil prices have added to the skepticism of private investors. However, India’s macroeconomic performance is much better than those of developed and developing economies. Private investors must take these into account before holding back their investment.

Mains Question

Q. What role private investment plays in Indian economy? Analyse the post-pandemic private investment situation in India?

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