India’s GDP grew 7% despite demonetisation, CSO data shows

India’s GDP grew 7% despite demonetisation, CSO data shows

India News

Official data released on Tuesday showed that demonetisation hasn’t pushed the economy into a retreat as most feared, with its short-term adverse impact to a large extent restricted to construction and financial services. Real GDP growth in the December quarter, in the midst of which the note ban came into effect, came in at a respectable 7% (though lower than 7.4% in the previous quarter) and the gross value added (GVA) was 6.6%, with the difference explained by robust indirect taxes and reining in of subsidies. Upward revision of GVA estimates for 2015-16 led to downward corrections in GVA for Q1 and Q2 of the current fiscal but despite this, there were marginal upward revisions in the rates of GDP expansion in these quarters, thanks to a surge in indirect taxes. Solid performance by the “agriculture and allied sectors”, pump-priming by the government on the consumption side, better-than-expected performance by mining and manufacturing sectors and a seasonal — though larger-than-usual — pick-up in private consumption masked whatever negative effect the note swap exercise had on the economy, going by the Central Statistics Office’s data. However, as the GDP was slowing even before demonetisation and the note swap has indeed had an incremental adverse effect on it, both GDP and GVA growth for 2016-17 have been projected to be much lower than in the previous year. In the second advance estimate, the CSO has kept the GDP growth estimate for the current financial year at 7.1%, the same as in the first advance estimate released in early January, and GVA growth at 6.7%. But given that 2015-16 GDP growth, which was seen at 7.6% at the time of the first advance estimate, was subsequently revised to 7.9%, the CSO’s latest take on 2016-17 growth is virtually more sanguine than its previous estimate.