Ahead of the Economic Survey, industry body Ficci today lowered its GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal, pegging India’s economic expansion rate at 5.3 percent compared to its 5.5 percent previous estimate.
This is mainly due to bleak prospects for performance of the agriculture sector due to sub-par monsoon forecast. “FICCI’s latest Economic Outlook Survey puts across the GDP growth estimate for the year 2014-15 at 5.3 percent, with a minimum and a maximum range of 4.9 percent and 5.8 percent,” a statement said.
The survey forecasts fiscal deficit to GDP ratio at 4.5 percent in 2014-15, breaching the target of 4.1 percent set in the interim budget. The survey pegs industrial growth for 2014-15 at 3.1 percent and agriculture growth at 2.1 percent.
Further, services sector growth is expected at 7 percent, marginally higher than 6.8 percent recorded in 2013-14. On the inflation front, participating economists expect prices to remain beyond the comfort zone, expecting the El Nino effect to fuel inflationary pressure going ahead, Ficci said.
On dealing with the price situation, the economists felt that the government has little choice but to strengthen supply side infrastructure and pointed out the immediate need to ease distortions in supply of food articles from farm to market.
Elaborating on the measures to boost economic growth, the survey respondents asked for a clear roadmap for roll out of Goods and Services Tax and review of the Direct Tax Code with a view to widen the tax base and rationalising exemptions.
It also asked the government to chart out a path to contain subsidies and switch the focus from non-plan to plan expenditure, while putting across a roadmap for disinvestment. Besides, it recommended firming up the growth in the manufacturing sector to aid employment generation and to boost infrastructure spending, along with faster implementation of stuck projects.