President Pranab Mukherjee is hopeful of India becoming a top economy
President Pranab Mukherjee is hopeful of India becoming a top economy

Anil Singh, New Delhi – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today said that Indias growth rate will improve to 7.4 per cent during 2017-18 and go up further to 7.6 per cent in the next fiscal, remaining ahead of China. “The impact of the demonetisation of high-value banknotes is dissipating as the replacement banknotes enter circulation. Stronger consumption and fiscal reforms are also expected to improve business confidence and investment prospects in the country,” said the Asian Development Outlook, ADBs flagship economic publication.

India recorded a growth rate of 7.1 per cent during 2016-17, notwithstanding the fears that demonetisation of high-value currency notes of Rs 500/1,000 in November last year would adversely impact the economic growth.

“In India, the sub-regions largest economy, growth is expected to pick up to 7.4 per cent in fiscal year (2017-18) and 7.6 per cent in 2018-19, following the 7.1 per cent registered last FY,” it said.

With regard to China, the report said, the overall output is expected to slow to 6.5 per cent in 2017 and 6.2 per cent in 2018, down from 2016s 6.7 per cent. Efforts of the Chinese government to maintain financial and fiscal stability would continue to be a modest drag on growth going forward, it said, adding the continued structural reform would help in maintain growth in the governments target range. Over the last few years, India has taken a host of economic reforms initiative, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and liberalisation of the FDI regime, with a view to improve business climate and promote growth. The GST is expected to roll out from July.

Menwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said days are not far off when India’s economy will be among the top five in terms of absolute value and several glorious chapters will be added to the country’s public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the future.

The President highlighted that major changes were brought in 1956, 1973, 1980 and finally 1991, which is considered as the beginning of the era of liberalisation, as a result of which “the Indian economy unleashed its potential and today it is emerging as the first among the emerging economies”.

“Days are not far off when Indian economy will be considered, I am not merely talking from purchasing power of parity, we are already third (in that), but even in terms of absolute value, Indian economy will be in the first 3,4,5 countries…It is reachable,” Mukherjee said.

Addressing an award function to honour outstanding central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), the President expressed a strong belief that India’s public sector story has not ended, it is unfolding slowly and many more glorious chapters will be added to its credit in the years to come. He said it would “not be appropriate” to prophesier the opinion that he is “the product of that regime which strongly believed in the public sector,” because his ministerial career of 35 years is almost equally divided in the preliberalised and postliberalised eras.

Besides, addressing the awards function organised by Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), Union minister for heavy industry and public enterprises Anant Geete said that in the last few years, the country’s public sector enterprises have been facing the toughest competition from China.

He said that the government is taking a somewhat “bitter decision” to shut down CPSEs which we are unable to run, so that people’s money can be utilised for their own progress. CPSEs, including Rural Electrification Corporation, National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited, ONGC Videsh Ltd, Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and GSL got awards in the Institutional Category.