India's economic growth will rebound from a five-year low this year, but would need a huge boost in spending and reforms to accelerate higher rate of expansion to double the economy's size to USD 5 trillion by 2024-25, the pre-Budget Economic Survey said yesterday. Stepping up private investments, exports and job creation will be key to achieving the target, the survey presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The real gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which slowed to a five-year of 5.8% in the first three months of 2019 -- well below China's 6.4%, is expected to rise to 7% in the fiscal year 2019-20 that started in April, it said.
GDP growth was 6.8% in 2018-19, down from 7.2% in 2017-18.
Investment rate, which was declining since 2011-12, seems to have bottomed out and is expected to pick up in consumer demand and bank lending, the survey said adding that economic slowdown impacting tax collections and rising state expenditure on farm sector may, however, put strains on the fiscal front.
India is currently the sixth-largest economy in the world with a size of USD 2.7 trillion. It is expected to overtake Britain to become the fifth-largest next year.
Authored by Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian, the Economic Survey said investment (especially private), is the 'key driver' that boosts demand, creates capacity, increases labour productivity, introduces new technology, allows creative destruction and generates jobs. At a media briefing, he said structural reforms such as ones in the labour sector are needed to bring in the much-needed private investment.
Also, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector needs focus as the bulk of the job creation and growth support would come from this segment.
The survey propagated the economics of "nudge" at the household level, judicial reforms to smoothen out enforcing of contracts, and investment reforms.
It put the fiscal deficit for 2018-19 at 3.4%, but analysts expected a short-term realignment of the fiscal consolidation map with the deficit targets being marginally raised for the current fiscal in the Union Budget for 2019-20 to be presented by Sitharaman on Friday.
Subramanian, however, stressed on government sticking to the fiscal consolidation path or risk crowding out investment due to large public borrowings.