India’s 2015-16 GDP growth to exceed 7.5 percent: Official

New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) With the government committed to ensuring the country remains a “bright spot” in the world economy, India’s growth in the current fiscal will exceed 7.5 percent as there are “silver linings” in the global financial turmoil, a senior official said on Monday.

“This year we are targeting about 7.5 percent to 8 percent growth. We are quite confident that upwards of 7.5 percent is what we can reasonably expect,” Secretary, Economic Affairs, in the finance ministry, Shaktikanta Das said at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) here.

“There are silver linings and while we recognise that world economy today has become volatile, which many people say has become the new normal, there are also opportunities, there are also silver linings,” he said.

He listed the events that hold promise for the global economy as being the US-Iran deal, the shale gas revolution, the expected innovation in solar energy and developments around combating black money and terror funding.

He said India the view of India being one of the very few bright spots in the global economy, has been voiced by the International Monetary Fund as well, and noted this was because its current account and fiscal deficits are under control, and forex reserves are fairly comfortable.

“But that is no cause for complacency and government is committed to continue to take necessary measures to retain that position for India,” he added.

The Indian economy grew 7 percent in the first quarter of this fiscal, slower than the 7.5 percent expansion in the quarter before. But the growth was much higher than 6.7 percent registered in the first quarter of the last fiscal, earning it the description of currently being the fastest growing among major economies.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at an event here on Monday also said declining oil and other commodity prices in this phase of global financial turmoil have helped India as the country is a net importer of commodities.

In this connection, changing the base year to 2011-12 from 2004-05 in January, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said that India’s real GDP, that is adjusted for inflation, grew 6.9 percent in 2013-14 instead of the earlier projected 4.7 percent, and by 5.1 percent in the year before compared to 4.5 percent under the previous system.

Advance estimates for 2014-15, released in February, projected India’s GDP to grow at 7.4 percent.

However, even after seven months since India’s GDP data was unveiled under a new series, the controversy over the changed methodology employed by the CSO refuses to die down – with economists even terming it obscure.

A committee headed by the National Statistical Commission chairman Pronab Sen has been set up to examine the estimation methodology. But critics say he has been a vocal supporter of the new series — hence questioning if the findings will be impartial.

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