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Indian Economy Overview

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Indian Economy Overview

April, 2016


India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world as per the Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the Economic Survey 2015-16, the Indian economy will continue to grow more than 7 per cent in 2016-17.

The improvement in India’s economic fundamentals has accelerated in the year 2015 with the combined impact of strong government reforms, RBI's inflation focus supported by benign global commodity prices.

India’s Consumer Confidence score in the April-June 2016 quarter declined to 128 from the high of 134 in the January-March 2016 quarter. India was ranked the highest globally in terms of consumer confidence during October-December quarter of 2015, continuing its earlier trend of being ranked the highest during first three quarters of 2015, as per the global consumer confidence index created by Nielsen.

Market size

According to IMF World Economic Outlook Update (January 2016), Indian economy is expected to grow at 7-7.75 per cent during FY 2016-17, despite the uncertainties in the global market. The Economic Survey 2015-16 had forecasted that the Indian economy will growing by more than seven per cent for the third successive year 2016-17 and can start growing at eight per cent or more in next two years.

According to Fitch Ratings Agency, India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will likely grow by 7.7 per cent in FY 2016-17 and slowly accelerate to 8 per cent by FY 2018-19, driven by the gradual implementation of structural reforms, higher disposable income and improvement in economic activity.

According to Mr Arun Singh, Indian Ambassador to the US, the Indian pharmaceutical market is expected to grow to US$ 55 billion by 2020, thereby emerging as the sixth largest pharmaceutical market globally by absolute size.

India's foreign exchange reserves stood at US$ 360 billion by end of March 2016, as compared with US$ 342 billion at same time last year, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

According to a report by the rating agency ICRA Limited, the Indian securitisation market increased by 45 per cent year-on-year to Rs 25,000 crore (US$ 3.7 billion) in FY 2016, primarily due to the increased number of asset-backed securitisation (ABS) transactions.

The steps taken by the government in recent times have shown positive results as India's gross domestic product (GDP) at factor cost at constant (2011-12) prices 2014-15 is Rs 106.4 trillion (US$ 1.58 trillion), as against Rs 99.21 trillion (US$ 1.47 trillion) in 2013-14, registering a growth rate of 7.3 per cent. The economic activities which witnessed significant growth were ‘financing, insurance, real estate and business services’ at 11.5 per cent and ‘trade, hotels, transport, communication services’ at 10.7 per cent.

According to a Goldman Sachs report released in September 2015, India could grow at a potential 8 per cent on average during from fiscal 2016 to 2020 powered by greater access to banking, technology adoption, urbanisation and other structural reforms.

Recent Developments

With the improvement in the economic scenario, there have been various investments leading to increased M&A activity. Some of them are as follows:

India has emerged as one of the strongest performers in terms of deals related to mergers and acquisitions (M&A). According to data from Thomson-Reuters, total M&A deals involving Indian companies grew by 82 per cent to US$ 27 billion during January to June 2016, which is the highest in the first six months in any year since 2011, led by a four and a half time increase of Indian acquisitions abroad at US$ 4.5 billion.

  • The Government of India and the Government of the United States of America have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation on energy security, clean energy and climate change through increased bilateral engagement and further joint initiatives for promoting sustainable growth.
  • Under the new National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP), the Government of India plans to conduct e-auction of 62 mineral blocks of minerals such as iron ore, limestone and gold located across several states to further open up the mining sector and increase output of minerals in 2016-17.
  • The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has been entrusted with the task of developing India's first national social security platform, aimed at distributing social security benefits directly to the beneficiaries account, thus doing away with intermediaries.
  • According to The World Bank, India's per capita income is expected to cross Rs 100,000 (US$ 1,505) in FY 2017 from Rs 93,231 (US$ 1,403.5) in FY 2016.
  • India’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew by 2.1 per cent year-on-year in June 2016, led by expansion in electricity and mining production.
  • India’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation increased to 6.07 per cent in July 2016 as compared to 5.77 per cent in June 2016. On the other hand, the India’s Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation increased to 3.6 per cent in July 2016, a 23-month high, as against negative 1.62 per cent in the previous month.

Government Initiatives

Numerous foreign companies are setting up their facilities in India on account of various government initiatives like Make in India and Digital India. Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, has launched the Make in India initiative with an aim to boost the manufacturing sector of Indian economy. This initiative is expected to increase the purchasing power of an average Indian consumer, which would further boost demand, and hence spur development, in addition to benefiting investors. Besides, the Government has also come up with Digital India initiative, which focuses on three core components: creation of digital infrastructure, delivering services digitally and to increase the digital literacy. Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley stated that the government is looking at a number of reforms and resolution of pending tax disputes to attract investments.

Currently, the manufacturing sector in India contributes over 15 per cent of the GDP. The Government of India, under the Make in India initiative, is trying to give boost to the contribution made by the manufacturing sector and aims to take it up to 25 per cent of the GDP. Following the government’s initiatives several plans for investment have been undertaken which are as follows:

  • The Government of India has certified 20 private organisations as incubators under the Startup India Action Plan, which is expected to promote entrepreneurship, provide pre-incubation training and a seed fund for high growth start-ups in the country.
  • The Government of India aims to improve its ease of doing business ranking from 130 at present to within the top 100 by 2016 and the top 50 by 2017, based on reforms undertaken in areas like construction permits, enforcing contracts and starting business, especially by top cities such as Mumbai and Delhi.
  • The Government of India has successfully completed the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) negotiations with the Government of Cyprus, which is expected to further develop the trade and economic links between the two countries.
  • The Union cabinet has approved the establishment of a Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) at Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore (US$ 1.48 billion), which would extend funding support to start-ups and encourage entrepreneurship in the country.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry plans to establish India as a hub for world class designing by setting up four National Institute of Design (NIDs) across the country, aimed at providing skills to empower India's human capital towards world class designing.
  • The Government of India is preparing a new National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP), aimed at augmenting mineral production in the country by allowing private companies, including foreign companies, to participate in mine exploration.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of several short term (within one year) and medium term measures (within two years) to be implemented by government ministries, departments and organisations for promotion of payments through cards and digital means, and to reduce cash transactions.
  • Government of India has prioritised sustainability as the key aspect of India’s development. To achieve this, the government aims to encourage education, skill development, digital connectivity and entrepreneurship in a sustainable manner.
  • Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi announced at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conference on ‘Advancing Asia: Investing for the Future’ in New Delhi that the government will continue to bring in new reforms for transforming economy without resorting to undervaluing its exchange rate to boost trade.
  • The Government of India plans to build five new railway links with Nepal, which will boost India's economic links with its neighbouring country and promote growth, employment and prosperity in the region.
  • India has signed a loan agreement worth US$ 35 million with the World Bank for Madhya Pradesh Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project which aims to improve access and quality of public services in Madhya Pradesh through implementation of the 2010 Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act.
  • The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the allocation of coal linkages for non-regulated sectors such as cement, steel, sponge iron, aluminium and others, through the route of e-auction to be conducted in April 2016, which is expected to bring in transparency in allotment process and ensure all market participants have a fair opportunity to secure coal for their operations.
  • Government of India plans to create a National Investment Grid to map business opportunities across the country which will make it easier for investors, especially domestic investors, to access and explore investment opportunities.
  • Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, launched the Start-up India initiative and unveiled the Start-up Action Plan which includes creation of a dedicated Start-up fund worth Rs 10,000 crore (US$ 1.48 billion) apart from other incentives like no tax on profits for first three years and relaxed labour laws.
  • British telecom giant Vodafone, India's second largest telecom operator, plans to invest over Rs 13,000 crore (US$ 1.93 billion) in India, to upgrade and expand its network and also for its payments bank operations.
  • Chinese smartphone handset maker, Vivo, has set up an assembly unit in India at Greater Noida which will initially manufacture 150,000 smartphone units a month, to produce three smartphone models, namely Y11, Y21 and Y15S.
  • Foxconn Technology group, Taiwan’s electronics manufacturer, is planning to manufacture Apple iPhones in India. Besides, Foxconn aims to establish 10-12 facilities in India including data centers and factories by 2020.

Under the Digital India initiative numerous steps have been taken by the Government of India. Some of them are as follows:

  • The Government of India has launched a digital employment exchange which will allow the industrial enterprises to find suitable workers and the job-seekers to find employment. The core purpose of the initiative is to strengthen the communication between the stakeholders and to improve the efficiencies in service delivery in the MSME ministry. According to officials at the MSME ministry over 200,000 people have so far registered on the website.
  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development recently launched Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan’s (KVS) e-initiative ‘KV ShaalaDarpan’ aimed at providing information about students electronically on a single platform. The program is a step towards realising Digital India and will depict good governance.
  • The Government of India announced that all the major tourist spots like Sarnath, Bodhgaya and Taj Mahal will have a Wi-Fi facility as part of digital India initiative. Besides, the Government has started providing free Wi-Fi service at Varanasi ghats.

The Government of India has launched an initiative to create 100 smart cities as well as Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 500 cities with an outlay of Rs 48,000 crore (US$ 7.47 billion) and Rs 50,000 crore (US$ 7.34 billion) crore respectively. Smart cities are satellite towns of larger cities which will consist of modern infrastructure and will be digitally connected. The program was formally launched on June 25, 2015. The Phase I for Smart City Kochi (SCK) will be built on a total area of 650,000 sq. ft., having a floor space greater than 100,000 sq. ft. Besides, it will also generate a total of 6,000 direct jobs in the IT sector.

Road Ahead

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Moody’s Investors Service have forecasted that India will witness a GDP growth rate of 7.5 per cent in 2016, due to improved investor confidence, lower food prices and better policy reforms. Besides, according to the World Bank, the Indian economy will likely grow at 7.6 per cent in 2016-17, followed by further acceleration to 7.7 per cent in 2017-18 and 7.8 per cent in 2018-19.

According to Mr Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, Indian economy would continue to grow at 7 to 9 per cent and would double in size to US$ 4–5 trillion in a decade, becoming the third largest economy in absolute terms.

Furthermore, initiatives like Make in India and Digital India will play a vital role in the driving the Indian economy.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.0149 as on September 02, 2016