NEW DELHI: The mandate for a stable BJP-led government at the Centre has ledeconomists to bet on an economic growth of 6.5-7% in 2015-16 even as they await policy initiatives by the incoming government to take a call on revising their estimates for the current fiscal.
Although foreign investors have pumped in more than Rs 1 lakh crore in the Indian stock market since Narendra Modi’s anointment as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in September last year, economists are not in a hurry to revise their Gross Domestic Product(GDP) forecast for 2014-15.
“We are in the process of revising the growth forecast for the next fiscal to 6.5-6.7% from 6.2% estimated earlier. We are not immediately going to revise the growth estimate for the current fiscal as we had assumed a stable government. Now it all depends on actual policy action,” said Abheek Barua, HDFC Bank’s chief economist, whose forecast for the current fiscal stands at 5.5%.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has beaten most exit polls with its tally of 282 seats and over 330 seats along with its allies.
“Fiscal year 2015-16 growth prospects have now turned more favourable, with growth likely to push up between 6.5% and 7%,” said Shubhada Rao, chief economist, YES BankBSE 1.09 %. The current year’s forecast of 5.4% will remained unchanged for the time being, she said, “since the loss of economic momentum has been significant and policy impetus of the new government will play out only gradually”.
GDP growth fell to sub-5% for two straight years in 2012-13 and 2013-14, on account of weak investment due to high interest rates.
Even if a stable government pushes through difficult reforms, factors such as deficient rainfall in the current year are keeping economists on a watch mode. Revival of investors’ confidence and pick-up in infrastructure projects are seen as the immediate actions which could help revive growth.
Inflation management in times of a possible drought will have an impact on the growth forecast. “Tackling food inflation and revival of investment will play a key role in pick-up of growth. We can actually look at growth touching 6% in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal if policy actions take off. The government needs to ensure that our ‘doing business’ ranking goes up 10 notches by the end of this year,” said Rajiv Kumar of Centre for Policy and Research.
Growth can definitely touch 7% in the next fiscal and 8% in the year after, he added.