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Indian Economy Overview

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Indian Economy Overview

February, 2015


India is set to emerge as the world’s fastest-growing major economy by 2015 ahead of China, as per the recent report by The World Bank. India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow at 7.5 per cent in FY 2015-16, as per the report.

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.

Market size

According to IMF World Economic Outlook April, 2015, India ranks seventh globally in terms of GDP at current prices and is expected to grow at 7.5 per cent in 2016.

India’s economy has witnessed a significant economic growth in the recent past, growing by 7.3 per cent in FY2015 as against 6.9 per cent in FY2014. The size of the Indian economy is estimated to be at Rs 129.57 trillion (US$ 2.01 trillion) for the year 2014 compared to Rs 118.23 trillion (US$ 1.84 trillion) in 2013.

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$ 1.596 trillion), as against Rs 99.21 trillion (US$ 1.488 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.


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 with respect to deals across the world in terms of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). M&A activity increased in 2014 with deals worth US$ 38.1 billion being concluded, compared to US$ 28.2 billion in 2013 and US$ 35.4 billion in 2012. The total transaction value for the month of November 2015 was US$ 2.97 billion involving a total of 47 transactions. In the M&A space, Telecom was the dominant sector, amounting to 40 per cent of the total transaction value. Also, Private equity (PE) investments increased 86 per cent y-o-y to US$ 1.43 billion.

  • India’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew by 9.8 per cent in October, 2015 compared to 3.8 per cent in September 2015.
  • India’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate increased to 5.41 per cent in November 2015 as compared to 5 per cent in October 2015. On the other hand, the India’s Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation rate remained negative at 1.99 per cent for the thirteenth consecutive month in November 2015 as against negative 3.81 per cent in the previous month.
  • India's consumer confidence continues to remain highest globally for the sixth quarter in a row, riding on positive economic environment and lower inflation. The country's confidence score was 131 in the three months ended September 2015, same as that of previous quarter.
  • India's current account deficit in the July-September 2015 quarter at US$ 8.2 billion was wider than the US$ 6.2 billion in the previous quarter. However, it was lower than the US$ 10.9 billion deficit recorded in same period last year.
  • India's foreign exchange reserves were US$ 352.5 billion in the week up to December 11, 2015, an increase of US$ 408 million over the past week.
  • Owing to increased investor confidence, net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows touched a record high of US$ 34.9 billion in 2015 compared to US$ 21.6 billion in the previous fiscal year, according to a Nomura report. The report indicated that the net FDI inflows reached to 1.7 per cent of the GDP in 2015 from 1.1 per cent in the previous fiscal year.

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:

  • British telecom giant Vodafone, India's second largest telecom operator, plans to invest over Rs 13,000 crore (US$ 1.96 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.
  • US-based First Solar Inc and China’s Trina Solar have plans to set up manufacturing facilities in India. Clean energy investments in India increased to US$ 7.9 billion in 2014, helping the country maintain its position as the seventh largest clean energy investor in the world.
  • Hyderabad is set to become the mobile phone manufacturing hub in India and is expected to create 150,000 – 200,000 jobs. Besides, the Telangana Government aims to double IT exports to Rs 1.2 trillion (US$ 18.7 billion) by 2019.
  • General Motors plans to invest US$1 billion in India by 2020, mainly to increase the capacity at the Talegaon plant in Maharashtra from 130,000 units a year to 220,000 by 2025.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Hindustan Shipyard Ltd have joined hands to build warships in India. Besides, Samsung Heavy Industries and Kochi Shipyard will be making Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tankers.
  • JSW Group plans to expand its cement production capacity to 30 MTPA from 5 MTPA by setting up grinding units closer to its steel plants.

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.

Based on the recommendations of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), the Government of India has recently approved 18 proposals of FDI amounting to Rs 5,000 crore (US$ 770 million) approximately on September 30, 2015.

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$ 7.78 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 mid-year update of United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects, India is expected to grow at 7.6 per cent in 2015 and at 7.7 per cent in 2016.

As per the latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report by World Bank, India is leading The World Bank’s growth chart for major economies. The Bank believes India to become the fastest growing major economy by 2015, growing at 7.5 per cent.

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$ 0.015 as on December 17, 2015