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The New Economic Growth Data

Context

  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation recently released India’s economic growth data for the second quarter (July-September – Q2) of the current fiscal year (2022-23 or FY23).
  • It reported that India’s GDP and gross value added (GVA) increased by 6.3% and 5.6%, respectively, year on year in the second quarter.
  • In addition, India remained the fastest-growing major economy, with China posting 3.9% growth in July-September 2022.
  • Despite global uncertainties, the article emphasises that the momentum gained by the Indian economy following the pandemic remains firmly in place.

Relevance

GS Paper 3: Economic growth

Mains Question

“The MSMEs sector is referred to as the Indian economy’s growth engine.” In light of this statement, discuss the challenges and solutions facing India’s MSMEs sector. (250 words)


Before proceeding to data, key terminologies must be understood.

  • GDP: It is a monetary measure of all “final” goods and services produced in a country during a given period. It computes the overall demand of the economy and measures national income.
  • GDP = Private Consumption (Private Final Consumption Expenditure or PFCE) + Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE) + Gross Fixed Capital Expenditure (GFCE) + Net Exports (Exports minus imports).
    • Private consumption expenditure is the most important driver of growth, accounting for more than 55% of India’s total GDP.
    • Government final consumption expenditures account for only 10-11% of GDP, while gross fixed capital expenditure/investments account for around 33%.
  • GVA: The RBI defines a sector’s GVA as the value of output minus the value of its intermediary inputs. It, like GDP, measures national income while calculating the overall supply of the economy.
    • GVA growth can help determine which sectors of the economy are doing well and which are struggling.
  • GVA and GDP Comparison: GVA is the value added to a product to improve its various aspects, whereas GDP is the total amount of products produced in the country. The GDP is thus calculated by examining the GVA data as follows:
    • GDP = (GVA) + (Taxes earned by the government) – (Government Subsidies Provided) o If taxes exceed government subsidies, GDP will be greater than GVA. For example, in Q2 of FY23, GDP (at Rs 38,16,578 crore) is significantly higher than GVA (which is at Rs 35,05,599 crore).
    • While GDP is derived from GVA data, GDP data is more useful when examining annual economic growth and comparing a country’s growth to that of the past or another country.

Key findings from recently released data

  • Manufacturing sector contraction of 4.3% in Q2 has cast doubt on future demand, despite the fact that the sector has a high potential for job creation and can absorb excess farm labour.
    • Service growth is barely above 2%, while mining and quarrying have contracted by nearly 3%.
  • PFCE: Private consumption expenditure is the largest driver of GDP growth, incentivizing businesses to make new investments.
  • Investment expenditure increased by 10.4% in FY21 and by nearly 21% between FY20 and FY23.
  • GFCE: It fell 4.4% in the second quarter and is now 20% lower than it was before Covid. It’s concerning because GFCE can help an economy when consumers and businesses cut back on their spending.
  • Future challenges: Higher interest rates, a lack of a significant increase in demand, and a slowing global economy may pose difficulties in the current fiscal year.

Optimistic outlook

  • Agriculture sector: One encouraging story is that agriculture (along with forestry and fishing) grew at a 4.6% annual rate.
    • The agricultural value chain in areas such as livestock and fishing, which helps farmers start their businesses, has received a significant facelift.
  • Noticeable shift in government spending on social investments in education and health.
  • India outperforms other countries:
    • According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), India experienced 6.6% growth in this fiscal year (FY 2022-23) and is one of Asia’s fastest growing economies.
    • It also stated in its most recent ‘Economic Outlook’ that India will be the G20’s second-fastest growing economy in FY 2022-23, trailing only Saudi Arabia.
  • The cost of living rises: Though there has been a decline in the cost of living since Covid, India still performs significantly better than others, as shown below:
    • Household budget: It increased by 12% in both the United States and India, but by 20% in Germany and 23% in the United Kingdom from 2021 to 2022.
    • Food prices: India performs best, with food inflation increasing by 25% in the US, 18% in the UK, 35% in Germany, and only 15% in India.
    • Housing costs: India fared better in terms of rising housing costs, which are now up by 21% in the US, 30% in the UK, 21% in Germany, and only 6% in India.
    • Energy prices have risen by 12% in the United States, 93% in the United Kingdom, 62% in Germany, and only 16% in India.
  • A quantum leap in per capita income: Critics argue that because India has a low per capita income (PCI), any discussion of cost of living should be linked to that.
    • However, according to the IMF, India’s PCI for the eight-year period ending 2022 has increased by 57% in USD terms, while it has decreased in other countries such as Brazil (27%), Japan (11%), and others.
    • This is attributed to the financial empowerment of the poor, as bank credit has increased by Rs10.35 lakh crore, five times that of Q2-FY22.
  • Passing the exchange rate test: India has performed admirably in terms of currency management. Even though the rupee has depreciated by 7.2% since the start of the Ukraine war, it is still significantly lower than our trade openness of 50% of GDP.

Far ahead

  • Further monetary policy tightening is required to combat inflation, and fiscal policy support should become more targeted and temporary.
  • Accelerating investment in clean energy sources and technologies will also be critical to diversifying energy supplies and ensuring energy security.

Conclusion

  • Amid a weakening US dollar and a Europe torn apart by an energy crisis, India remains a haven of stability.
  • India is also the best-positioned country to capitalise on the opportunity created by the conflict between the Western world (the United States and Europe) and China.

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