GDP forecast of 6.5% for current fiscal looks possible, says government

New Delhi: With the growth rate for 2022-23 estimated to be 7.2 per cent, the government on Wednesday said that the risks to the GDP forecast of 6.5 per cent for the current fiscal (2023-24) are now evenly balanced than a few months ago.

“We are now prepared to say that risks to our GDP growth forecast of 6.5 per cent for 2023-24 are now more evenly balanced than a few months ago when downside risks to the forecast were greater,” Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) V. Anantha Nageswaran told reporters after GDP data for the fourth quarter of 2022-23 and for the entire fiscal was released.

According to official data, India posted a GDP growth of 6.1 per cent in the January-March period of 2022-23 as against 4.4 per cent in the preceding quarter. For the entire 2022-23, the growth rate was estimated at 7.2 per cent, which is higher than the advanced estimates of 7 per cent, but lower compared to 9.1 per cent recorded in 2021-22.

“I think I can stick my neck out and say that when the revised numbers for FY23 are released next year, there might be an upward revision to the 7.2 per cent GDP growth figure,” Nageswaran added.

“India is on track to achieve the fiscal deficit target of 5.9 per cent of GDP in 2023-24,” he said, adding that there are chances that retail inflation will return to RBI’s medium term target of 4 per cent in 2023-24.

Retail inflation was at an 18-month low of 4.7 per cent in April 2023.

“We are seeing indications of strong recovery in rural demand,” the CEA said. The agricultural sector saw a growth of 5.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2022-23.

Capacity utilisation has already crossed 75 per cent in several sectors, Nageswaran added.

He also pointed out that total employment in the hotel industry was 40 million before the pandemic. This fell to 29 million during the pandemic but has now increased to 45 million.

Nageswaran told reporters that private consumption as a percentage of the GDP was at a 16-year high in 2022-23.


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