Monday, 11 December, 2017

GDP growth a temporary pause, says Congress

GDP numbers 'very encouraging': Key facts Has the tide turned?
Heather Davidson | 03 December, 2017, 01:16

China remained ahead of India for a third quarter in a row in July-September, posting 6.8 per cent growth. The country's fiscal deficit crossed 96 per cent of Budget estimates at October-end. The Government data released on Thursday, no doubt, showed a positive sign of growth trajectory, overcoming teething troubles after the bumpy launch of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

However, it can not be said now whether this will mark an upward trend in the growth rate.

The economic growth rate had slipped to three-year low of 5.7% in the first quarter of 2017-18 financial year.

He further said that the two structural reforms - GST and demonetisation - will benefit the economy in the medium and long-term.

Reacting to the GDP growth, Chief Statistician TCA Anant hinted that the numbers could be revised upwards as businesses uncertain of the new GST regime may have accounted for lesser taxes.

While manufacturing grew rapidly at 7% in the September quarter from merely 1.7% in the first quarter (April-June), the growth in electricity and other utilities was recorded at 7.6% and it was nearly 10% in trade, hotel, transportation and communication.

While investment grew by 4.6 per cent in Q2 compared to 1.6 per cent in the first quarter on a year-on-year basis, its share in GDP fell to 27.5 per cent from 29.9 per cent in Q1, indicating that GST-related stress in the economy had not dissipated.

"Manufacturing reported growth of 7 per cent, electricity, gas and water supply at 7.6 per cent, and trade, hotels, transport and communication grew at 9.9 per cent", he said. The finance minister said a cogent GST mechanism has been developed and no country in the world has 5 per cent tax rate. "Gross fixed capital formation has also picked up from last year's lacklustre pace".

Former finance minister P Chidambaram, a senior leader of the opposition Congress Party, said the result was "far below the promise of the Modi government and far below the potential of a well-managed Indian economy".

"We expect the growth to pick up to 7.6 per cent in the second half of this fiscal, helped by low-base effect of the second half of fiscal 2017", the ratings agency said in a statement.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector is estimated to have grown by 1.7 percent.

Mining also posted a sharp uptick in growth to 5.5 per cent from a decline of 0.7 per cent in the previous quarter.

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