Economic Survey: India Inc cheers optimism, wants focus on human capital, agriculture

NEW DELHI: India Inc pitched for focus on rapidly improving human capital and agricultural productivity to sustain the economic growth trajectory, while cheering the GDP growth projection of 7–7.5 per cent in 2018–19 laid out by the Economic Survey.

“The Survey provides new ideas for building a positive momentum for growth in the coming year and for faster growth thereafter. It delineates a long-term vision for powering the emergence of a New India which is both transformative and socially inclusive,” CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.

The Survey has rightly alluded that the chief areas of policy focus in the medium term are employment, especially for women; educated and healthy labour force; and raising farm productivity, he added. “We expect that the Budget will address some of these issues,” he said.

Resolving NPAs

Industry body Assocham said while the insolvency resolution mechanism has begun in the right earnest, a big vigil needs to be kept and the banks must be given additional capital at the earliest, observing that “until the issue of NPA (non performing assets) is fixed, growth may elude us”.

“Economic Survey for 2017–18 has brought out areas of concern such as rising non-performing assets of the public sector banks and has underlined the need, rightly so, for putting maximum emphasis on creating new jobs, agriculture and education,” Assocham President Sandeep Jajodia said. He said there is a need to keep a vigil on inflation, particularly in the wake of rising fuel prices and the government must remain steadfast on the path of reforms.

PHD Chamber of Commerce President Anil Khaitan said the focus of the government in the medium term on employment, education and agriculture is encouraging and would foster a sustainable economic environment, going forward.

The Survey tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pegs India to regain fastest growing major economy tag, with the country’s GDP estimated to grow between 7–7.5 per cent in 2018–19. It also estimates the GDP to grow 6.75 per cent in the current fiscal.

Caution ahead

Experts and economists too shared their opinion on the Survey. “Although an uptick in 2018-19 growth has not been ruled out, it is more likely towards the lower end of the range. Evolving domestic and global conditions can swing growth in any direction,” said Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist at India Ratings & Research.

According to Anis Chakravarty, Chief Economist, Deloitte India, with rapidly changing demography and incoming automation, manual jobs may become redundant, and this creates a need to generate opportunities in services domain. “Especially important will be an increased private sector participation as bulk is carried on via government agencies,” he said.

Manish Agarwal, Leader-Infrastructure at PwC India said, “The growth in manufacturing is a big positive. Credit offtake, growth in cement, steel etc point to pick-up in capacity creation also. As the pace picks up, the industrial corridors could see faster development.”

Source: Business Line

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