India's GDP for the fourth quarter of FY18 grew at 7.7 per cent as per the official data released earlier in the day. But this did not prevent GDP growth, at 6.7% in 2017-18, from falling to its lowest rate in four years. "Rapid growth in agriculture (4.5 per cent), manufacturing (9.1 per cent) and construction sectors (11.5 per cent) contributed to the overall growth", the statement by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said.
Asked about recent GDP growth downgrading by Moody's from 7.5 per cent to 7.3 per cent, he said the government would not revise GDP estimate of FY19, which is at 7.5 per cent.
India retained its position as the world's fastest growing major economy in the January-March quarter, well ahead of China. It is down about 6 per cent so far this year against the U.S. dollar.
Real GVA (at basic constant 2011-12 prices for 2017-18) is now estimated at Rs 119.76 lakh crore, showing a growth rate of 6.5 per cent over first revised estimates of GVA for 2016-17 of Rs 112.48 lakh crore.
The per capita income at current prices during 2017-18 is estimated to have attained a level of Rs 1,12,835 as compared to the estimates for the year 2016-17 of Rs 1,03,870 showing a rise of 8.6 percent.
The minister also hailed and credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the development. Faster growth in manufacturing, farm sector and construction helped this growth rate.
Economists are predicting a further pick-up in activity during the current financial year on the back of higher consumption demand, a stable GST and a surge in investment towards end of the year. In terms of annual growth, GVA was at 6.5 percent. His government launched a nationwide goods and services tax (GST) but its introduction was botched, almost scuttling India's growth prospects in the near term.
DOWNSIDE RISKS: The recovery could be threatened by higher global crude oil prices, which this month hit $80 a barrel, their highest since 2014.
Health of the banking sector will also be crucial. Higher oil prices have already pressured the rupee, near a record low last week and Asia's worst performer.
Domestic prices of petrol and diesel are near all-time highs, putting pressure on the government to bring down taxes on the fuels. Alongside, rising global trade tensions due to the imposition of import tariffs by the United States could moderate global trade growth, tempering Indian exports, analysts said.
GDP growth in 2018-19 could get a boost from prospects of good monsoon, potentially brightening the outlook for agricultural output.
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