From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Gross tax revenue
Mains level : Paper 3- Challenges in achieving 9.5 growth rate
The National Statistical Office (NSO) released the second quarter gross value added (GVA) and gross domestic product (GDP) numbers on November 30, 2021, indicating the pace of economic recovery in India after the two COVID-19 waves.
Strong growth momentum required to exceed pre-COVID-19 levels
- The real GVA for the first half of 2021-22 at ₹63.4 lakh crore has remained below the level in the first half of 2019-20 at ₹65.8 lakh crore by (-)3.7%.
- This difference is even larger for GDP which at the end of first half of 2021-22 stood at ₹68.1 lakh crore, which is (-) 4.4% below the corresponding level of GDP at ₹71.3 lakh crore in 2019-20.
- As the base effect weakens in the third and fourth quarters of 2021-22, a strong growth momentum would be needed to ensure that at the end of this fiscal year, in terms of magnitude, GVA and GDP in real terms exceed their corresponding pre-COVID-19 levels of 2019-20.
- Domestic demand including private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) in the first half of 2021-22 remains below its corresponding level in 2019-20 by nearly ₹5.5 lakh crore.
- This indicates that investment as well as consumption demand have to pick up strongly in the remaining two quarters to ensure that the economy emerges on the positive side at the end of 2021-22 as compared to its pre-COVID-19 level.
Annual growth prospects
- Required rate in second half of 2021-22: To realise the projected annual growth at 9.5% for 2021-22 given both by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we require a growth of 6.2% in the second half of 2021-22.
- This will have to be achieved even as the base effect weakens in the third and fourth quarters since GDP growth rate in these quarters of 2020-21 was at 0.5% and 1.6%, respectively.
- Thus, achieving the projected growth rate of 9.5% is going to be a big challenge.
What should be the policy to achieve higher growth rate
- Fiscal support: The policy instrument for achieving a higher growth may have to be a strong fiscal support in the form of government capital expenditure.
- The Centre’s gross tax revenues have shown an unprecedented growth rate of 64.2% and a buoyancy of 2.7 in the first half of 2021-22.
- The Centre’s incentivisation of state capital expenditure through additional borrowing limits would also help in this regard. According to available information, 11 States in the first quarter and seven States in the second quarter qualified for the release of the additional tranche under this window.
- Even as Central and State capital expenditures gather momentum, high frequency indicators reflect an ongoing pick-up in private sector economic activities.
Robust growth in Centre’s gross tax revenue
- The growth in the Centre’s GTR in the first half of 2019-20 was at 1.5% and there was a contraction of (-)3.4% for the year as a whole.
- In the face of such weak revenues, the Central government could not mount a meaningful fiscal stimulus in 2019-20 even as real GDP growth fell to 4.0%.
- In contrast, the government is in a significantly stronger position in 2021-22 since the growth in GTR in the first half is 64.2% and the full-year growth is expected to be quite robust.
Thus, the key to attaining a 9.5% real GDP annual growth in 2021-22 lies in the government’s ongoing emphasis on infrastructure spending as reflected in the government’s capital expenditure.