Following is the Summary of ECONOMIC SURVEY 2016-17 – Chapter – 6 Fiscal Rules: Lessons from the States:
- As per the first Advance Estimates (AE) released by the CSO, the Indian economy is estimated to register a GDP growth rate of 7.1 per cent in 2016-17.
Sectoral level estimates
- At the sectoral level, growth of agriculture & allied sectors improved significantly in 2016-17, following the normal monsoon in the current year.
- The contraction in mining and quarrying largely reflects slowdown in the production of crude oil and natural gas.
- As in the previous years, the service sector continued to be the dominant contributor to the overall growth of the economy, led by a significant pick-up in public administration, defence& other services that were boosted by the payouts of the Seventh Pay Commission.
Investment and trade scenario
- Fixed investment (gross fixed capital formation (GFCF)) to GDP ratio (at current prices) is estimated to be 26.6 per cent in 2016-17, vis-à-vis 29.3 per cent in 2015-16.
- Fixed investment rate has been declining since 2011-12.
- Private consumption is also projected to grow at a reasonable pace during the year with plummeting imports of gold, silver and other bullion, acquisition of valuables by households is expected to contract in the current year.
- Steeper contraction in imports, compared to exports, during the first half of 2016-17 led to a sharp decline in trade deficit.
- Despite slowing services exports, the decline in merchandise trade deficit helped improve the position of net exports of goods and non-factor services in the national accounts.
Reasons of fiscal developments
The growth in revenue expenditure during April-November 2016, which prima facie seems very high, may be viewed against the background of a few developments:-
- Firstly, the salary component of the revenue expenditure increased by 23.2 per cent owing to meeting the commitments under the Seventh Pay Commission.
- Major subsidies budgeted for the current year increased by 5.0 per cent during April-November 2016, despite a decline in fertilizer and petroleum subsidy bills.
- The third reason for the strong growth in revenue expenditure is an increase of 39.5 per cent in the grants for creation of capital assets (GCCA) during April-November 2016.
- The investment push that the Central Government expenditure provides to the economy can be approximated by subtracting these grants from revenue expenditure and adding it to the capital expenditure.
- The headline inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) remained under control for the third successive financial year.
- Inflation hardened during the first few months of 2016-17, mainly due to upward pressure on the prices of pulses and vegetables. It dipped to two-year low of 3.4 per cent in December 2016 as a result of lower prices, especially of food items.
- The average inflation based on the wholesale price index (WPI) declined to (-) 2.5 per cent in 2015-16 from 2.0 per cent in 2014- 15.
- Pulses continued to be the major contributor of food inflation.
- Sugar prices also firmed up on account of lower production and hardening of price in the international market.
- Vegetable prices, which flared during the lean summer season, have also declined sharply as supply picked up during the post monsoon and winter season.
- The CPI food inflation (CFPI) has, as a result, dipped to a two-year low of 1.4 per cent in December 2016.
- While the headline inflation has dropped sharply in the recent months, the CPI based core inflation (exclusive of food and fuel group) has remained sticky so far during this fiscal year.
- Inflation for the ‘Transport & communication’ group has been rising in recent months partly reflecting rise in global crude oil prices and its pass-through to domestic petrol and diesel prices.
- In view of the deceleration in the wholesale and retail prices of key food items during the second half of the current financial year so far, the average inflation based on CPI is projected to remain below 5 per cent.
- The food inflation is likely to remain subdued in the light of higher Rabi sowing acreage, projected increase in the production of pulses and key agri-products globally and astute food management and price monitoring by the Government.
Monetary Management and Financial intermediation
- The Government amended the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 during the current financial year.
- The amended Act provides for inflation target to be set by the Government, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once in every five years and further provides for a statutory basis for the constitution of an empowered Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
- As per the revised monetary policy framework, the Government has fixed the inflation target of 4 per cent with tolerance level of +/- 2 per cent for the period beginning from 5th August, 2016 to March 31, 2021.
- The Government has also notified the constitution of the MPC on 29th September 2016.
- The RBI has been managing liquidity following its liquidity management framework.
- In order to bring ex ante liquidity conditions close to neutrality it has pumped durable liquidity through open market operations (OMOs).
- Post the withdrawal of specified bank notes (SBNs), RBI has conducted exceptional operations to mop the large surplus liquidity through variable reverse repo rate.
- To complement the RBI’s efforts, the Government also increased the limit on securities under market stabilization scheme from Rs. 30,000 crore to Rs. 6 lakh crore.
Yield on Government bills/ securities
- There was a sharp fall in the 91 days t-bill rate in April 2016 owing to 25 bps cut in repo rate.
- Ten years government security (G-sec) yield however continued to tread high in spite of the rate cut and in fact increased marginally after the rate cut.
- The performance of the banking sector, public sector banks (PSBs) in particular, continued to be subdued in the current financial year.
- The asset quality of banks deteriorated further. The gross non-performing assets (GNPA) to total advances ratio of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) increased to 9.1 per cent from 7.8 per cent between March and September 2016.
- Credit growth to industrial sector remained persistently below 1 per cent during the current fiscal, with contraction in August, October and November.
- However, bank credit lending to agriculture and allied activities (A&A) and personal loans (PL) segments continue to be the major contributor to overall NFC growth.
Measures to strengthen corporate bond Market
It accepted many of the recommendations of the Khan Committee to boost investor participation and market liquidity in the corporate bond market.
The new measures to strengthen corporate bond market as announced by the RBI include:
- Commercial banks are permitted to issue rupee-denominated bonds overseas (masala bonds) for their capital requirements and for financing infrastructure and affordable housing;
- Brokers registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and authorized as market makers in corporate bond market permitted to undertake repo / reverse repo contracts in corporate debt securities.
- This move will make corporate bonds fungible and thus boost turnover in the secondary market;
- Banks allowed to increase the partial credit enhancement they provide for corporate bonds to 50 per cent from 20 per cent. This move will help lower-rated corporates to access the bond market;
- Permitting primary dealers to act as market makers for government bonds, to give further boost to government securities by making them more accessible to retail investors; and
- RBI has allowed entities exposed to exchange rate risk to undertake hedge transactions with simplified procedures, up to a limit of US$30 million at any given time.
Indian markets performance
- Indian markets recorded modest growth of 1.95 – 3 per cent (Sensex was up by 1.95 per cent while Nifty was higher by 3.0 per cent) for the calendar year 2016 as compared to losses registered in 2015.
Foreign Portfolio Investments
- For the first time since the meltdown of 2008, Net Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) have turned negative (implying that there was an outflow from the Indian markets to the tune of Rs. 23079 crore).
- The FPI outflow was not a phenomenon associated with Indian markets alone as FPIs pulled out of most EMEs in a big way due to higher returns in advanced economies.
India’s Merchandise Trade
- In line with subdued global growth and trade, India’s exports declined by 1.3 per cent and 15.5 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively.
- During 2016-17 (April-December) Petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) exports constituting 11.1 per cent of total exports declined by 9.8 per cent to US$ 22.0 billion over corresponding previous period.
- Region-wise, India’s exports to Europe, Africa, America, Asia and CIS and Baltics declined in 2015-16.
- However, India’s exports to Europe, America and Asia increased by 2.6 per cent, 2.4 per cent and per cent respectively in 2016-17 (April- November), while exports to Africa declined by 13.5 per cent.
- USA followed by UAE and Hong Kong were the top export destinations.
- Value of imports declined from US$ 448 billion in 2014-15 to US$ 381 billion in 2015-16, mainly on account of decline in crude oil prices resulting in lower levels of POL imports.
- POL imports declined by 10.8 per cent. Gold and silver imports declined by 35.9 per cent and non-POL and non-gold & silver imports by 2.0 per cent.
- India’s imports from Europe, Africa, America, Asia and CIS & Baltics regions declined in 2015-16.
- However, in 2016-17 (April-November), imports from CIS & Baltics region increased by 10.3 per cent while other four regions witnessed decline.
- Top three import destinations of India were China followed by UAE and USA in 2016-17 (April-November).
- In 2015-16, India’s trade deficit declined by 13.8 per cent (vis-à-vis 2014- 15) to US$ 118.7 billion. Furthermore, it declined by 23.5 per cent to US$ 76.5 billion in 2016-17 (April-December) as compared to US$ 100.1 billion in the corresponding period of previous year.
Balance of Payments
- Despite moderation in India’s exports, India’s external sector position has been comfortable, with the current account deficit (CAD) progressively contracting from US$ 88.2 billion (4.8 per cent of GDP) in 2012-13 to US$ 22.2 billion (1.1 per cent of GDP) in 2015-16.
- The downward spiral in international crude oil prices resulted in a decline in oil import bill by around 18 per cent which together with a sharp decline in gold imports led to a reduction in India’s overall imports (on BoP basis).
- However, growth of receipts of software was marginal and financial services receipts declined. Subdued income conditions in source countries, particularly in the gulf region due to downward spiral in oil prices continued to weigh down on remittances by Indians employed overseas as private transfers moderated to US$ 28.2 billion in H1 of 2016-17 from US$ 32.7 billion in H1 of 2015-16.
- Despite higher net repayments on overseas borrowings and fall in banking capital (net) with building up of foreign currency assets by banks & decline in NRI deposits (net), robust inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) and net positive inflow of foreign portfolio investment (FPI) were sufficient to finance CAD leading to an accretion in foreign exchange reserves in H1 of 2016-17.
Foreign exchange reserves
- In H1 of 2016-17, India’s foreign exchange reserves increased by US$ 15.5 billion on BoP basis (e., excluding valuation effects), while in nominal terms (i.e., including valuation effect) the increase was to the tune of US$ 11.8 billion.
- Cross-country comparison of external debt based on the World Bank’s annual publication titled ‘International Debt Statistics 2017’, which contains the external debt data for the year 2015, indicates that India continues to be among the less vulnerable countries.
Outlook for the Economy for the year 2017-18
- CSO in its first AE estimated the economy to grow by 7.1 per cent in the current year. However, it has stated that these numbers have been projected taking into account the information for first seven to eight months.
- It is therefore unlikely to have captured the impact of withdrawal of the high denomination currency.
- Inflation could also be lower than what comes out from the implicit GDP deflator underlying the CSO’s first AE for 2016-17.
Agriculture and Food Management
- As per the first advance estimates of the CSO, growth rate for the agriculture and allied sectors is estimated to be 4.1 per cent for 2016-17.
- As per the First Advance Estimates (AE) released by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on 22nd September 2016, production of Kharif food-grains during 2016-17 is estimated at 135.0 million tonnes
Acreage under kharif and rabi crops
- During 2016-17, area sown upto 14th October, 2016 under all kharif crops taken together was 1075.7 lakh hectares which was 3.5 per cent higher compared to 1039.7 lakh hectares in the corresponding period of 2015-16
Monsoon rainfall and its distribution
- During the South West Monsoon Season (June-September) of 2016 the country as a whole received rainfall which was 97 per cent of its long period average (LPA). The actual rainfall received during this period was 862.0 mm as against the LPA at 887.5 mm.
Price policy of agricultural produce
- Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Related Policies’ was set up under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, which submitted its report on 16th September, 2016.
- During 2016- 17, MSPs were raised substantially mainly for pulses to incentivize farmers to cultivate pulses.
Food-grain stocks and procurement in central pool
- The stocks of food-grains (Rice and Wheat) was 43.5 million tonnes as on 1st December, 2016 compared to 50.5 million tonnes as on 1st December, 2015 vis-à-vis the buffer stock norm of 30.77 million tonnes as on 1st October 2015.
- To improve agricultural credit flow, the credit target for 2016-17 has been fixed at Rs. 9 lakh crore against Rs. 8.5 lakh crore for 2015- 16.
- As against the target, the achievement for 2016-17 (upto September 2016), was 84 percent of the target, higher than the corresponding figure of 59 per cent upto September 2015.
Industrial, Corporate and Infrastructure Sectors
- As per the first advance estimates of the CSO, growth rate of the industrial sector comprising mining & quarrying, manufacturing, electricity and construction is projected to decline from 7.4 per cent in 2015-16 to 5.2 per cent in 2016-17.
- Conversely, the production of capital goods declined steeply and consumer nondurable goods sectors suffered a modest contraction during April-November 2016-17.
- The eight core infrastructure supportive industries, viz. coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity that have a total weight of nearly 38 per cent in the IIP registered a cumulative growth of 4.9 per cent during April-November, 2016-17 as compared to 2.5 per cent during April-November, 2015- 16.
- The performance of corporate sector (Reserve Bank of India, January 2017) highlighted that the growth in sales was 1.9 per cent in Q2 of 2016-17 as compared to near stagnant growth of 0.1 per cent in Q1 of 2016-17.
- The Government has liberalized and simplified the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in sectors like defence, railway infrastructure, construction and pharmaceuticals, etc.
- During April-September 2016-17, FDI equity inflows were US$ 21.7 billion as compared to total FDI inflows of US$ 16.6 billion during April-September 2015-16 showing 30.7 per cent surge.
- Sectors like services sector, construction development, computer software & hardware and telecommunications have attracted highest FDI equity inflows.
- Many new initiatives have been taken up by the Government to facilitate investment and ease of doing business in the country such as Make-in-India, Invest India, Start Up India and e-biz Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan.
- As per the first advance estimates of the CSO, growth rate of the services sector is projected to grow at 8.8 per cent in 2016- 17, almost the same as in 2015-16.
- As per WTO data, India’s commercial services exports increased from US$ 51.9 billion in 2005 to US$ 155.3 billion in 2015.
- The share of India’s commercial services to global services exports increased to 3.3 per cent in 2015 from 3.1 per cent in 2014 despite negative growth of 0.2 per cent in 2015 as compared to 5.0 per cent growth in 2014.
- This was due to the relatively greater fall in world services exports by 6.1 per cent in 2015.
- India’s tourism sector witnessed a growth of 4.5 per cent in terms of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) with 8.2 million arrivals in 2015, and a growth of 4.1 per cent in foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) of US$ 21.1 billion.
Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development
Trends in social sector expenditure
- As per the Reserve Bank of India data, expenditure on social services by Centre and States, as a proportion of GDP was 7.0 per cent during 2016-17 (BE), with education and health sectors accounting for 2.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.
- The results of the quarterly quick employment survey by the Labour Bureau for the period December, 2015 over December, 2014 show that the overall employment increased by 135 thousand.
- The sectors that contributed to this increase include: IT/BPOs sector,textiles including apparels and metals.
- Employment, however, declined in gems &jewellery sector, handloom/powerloom sector, leather, automobiles sectors and transport sector during the same period.
- The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) at the all India level based on usual principal status approach was estimated at 50.3 per cent.
- The All India LFPR of females is much lower than that for males. There are wide interstate variations in the female LFPR as well.
- The North Eastern and Southern States, in general, display high female LFPR as compared to low levels in Northern States.
- The multiplicity of labour laws and the difficulty in their compliance have been an impediment to the industrial development and employment generation.
- An important concern that is often raised in the context of school education is low learning outcomes.
- Some of the underlying causes contributing to low quality of education in the primary sector are teacher absenteeism and the shortage of professionally qualified teachers.
- An option to address teacher absenteeism that can be explored is biometric attendance of all teachers in primary schools for each scheduled class/lecture/session/ distinct from the present system.
- Apart from the biometric attendance being regularly monitored by local communities and parents, it should also be put in public domain.
Health for all
- Despite the challenges faced by the government in providing affordable health services to the population, there have been some notable achievements in the health sector.
- Life expectancy has doubled and infant mortality and crude death rates have reduced sharply.
- India’s total fertility rate(TFR) has been steadily declining and was 2.3 (rural 2.5 & urban 1.8) during 2014. Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has declined to 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 from 44 in 2011.
- The challenge lies in addressing the huge gap between IMR in rural (41 per 1000 live births) and urban (25 per 1000 live births) areas.
- The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) declined from 301 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births during 2001-03 to 167 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births during 2011-13..
- There are wide regional disparities in MMR with States like Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar recording MMR well above the all India MMR of 167.
- The high levels of anaemia prevalent among women in the age group 15-49 have a direct correlation with high levels of MMR.
- Under the National Health Mission, Government of India has programmes to address the issue of anaemia through health and nutrition education to promote dietary diversification, inclusion of iron foliate rich food as well as food items that promote iron absorption.
Inclusive Policies of the Government
- For social empowerment, the ‘Nairoshni’ scheme for leadership development of minority women, ‘PadhoPardesh’, a scheme of interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies for the students belonging to the minority communities, etc. are being implemented.
- For skill development and economic empowerment of minorities, schemes like ‘SeekhoAurKamao’ (Learn & Earn), Upgrading Skill and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) and ‘NaiManzil’- a scheme to provide education and skill training to the youth from minority communities are in operation.
Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)
- The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) launched ‘Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)’ as a nation-wide Campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with a focus on three verticals: Built Environment, Public Transportation and Information & Communication Technologies.
- The ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ launched by the Government as part of the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan helps the industries and corporates to participate in the Accessible India Campaign .
- The Index is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country and will be an ideal instrument for the integration, assimilation and inclusion of PwDs into the mainstream.
- Further, the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016” passed by the Parliament aims at securing and enhancing the rights and entitlements of PwDs.
- The bill has proposed to increase the reservation in vacancies in government establishments from 3 per cent to 4 per cent for those with benchmark disability and high support needs.
Developments in international climate change negotiations:
- The Paris Agreement sets the path for the post-2020 actions based on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the Parties.
- The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4th November 2016.
- The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 22) to UNFCCC was held from 7-19 November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco.
- The main thrust of COP 22 was on developing rules and action framework for operationalizing the Paris Agreement and advance work on pre-2020 Actions.
- At COP 22, Parties agreed to a deadline of 2018 for the rule book. Detailing exercise will include accounting of the NDCs, adaptation communication, building a transparency framework, global stocktake every five years, etc.
- The key decision adopted at COP 22 was “Marrakech Action Proclamation for our Climate and Sustainable Development” which captured the sense of urgency to take action on climate change.
India’s green actions
- India ratified the Paris Agreement on 2nd October 2016.
- India’s comprehensive NDC target is to lower the emissions intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels:-
- To increase the share of non-fossil fuels based power generation capacity to 40 per cent of installed electric power capacity by 2030,
- And to create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- Currently, India’s renewable energy sector is undergoing transformation with a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity to be reached by 2022.
- In order to achieve the target, the major programmes/ schemes on implementation of Solar Park, Solar Defence Scheme, Solar scheme for Central Public Sector Undertakings, Solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plants on Canal Bank and Canal Tops, Solar Pump, Solar Rooftop, etc. have been launched in recent years.
- With India’s initiative, International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched, which is envisaged as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach. 24 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of ISA after it was opened for signature on November 15, 2016.
- Government of India has established the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change to assist States and Union Territories to undertake projects and actions for adaptation to limate change.
- India is also one of the few countries in the world to impose a tax on coal. This coal cess which has been renamed as “Clean Environment Cess” in the Union Budget 2016-17 funds the National Clean Environment Fund (NCEF).
- The proceeds of the NCEF are being used to finance projects under Green Energy Corridor for boosting up the transmission sector, NamamiGange, Green India Mission, Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, installation of SPV lights and small capacity lights, installation of SPV water pumping systems, SPV Power Plants and Grid Connected Rooftop SPV Power Plants.