Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Can P Chidambaram keep GDP at pace with Inflation?

October 9, 2012, 2:35 PM IST
IMF Cuts India Growth Forecast to 4.9%
In a speech last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India’s economic growth could “collapse” to about 5% per year if the country can’t break free of a “policy logjam” and make advances in everything from manufacturing output to infrastructure development to agricultural growth.
Well, by that definition, the International Monetary Fund has just said India is in the process of collapsing. The IMF’s “World Economic Outlook,” released Tuesday, forecast 4.9% gross domestic product expansion in India in 2012, a downward revision of 1.3 percentage points from the July forecast — the worst mid-year recast by the IMF for any major economy.
The report said: “India’s activity suffered from waning business confidence amid slow approvals for new projects, sluggish structural reforms, policy rate hikes designed to rein in inflation, and flagging external demand.”
The government’s outlook, not surprisingly, is more bullish. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters Monday that he expected growth to rebound from the April-June level of 5.5% in coming quarters. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Chidambaram said he expects that India’s moves to allow greater foreign participation in a range of sectors from retail to aviation to insurance will buoy the economy, along with coming fiscal belt-tightening measures.
Indeed, the IMF does see the recent round of reforms having some impact – but it will take some time. “Improvements in external conditions and confidence––helped by a variety of reforms announced very recently––are projected to raise real GDP growth to about 6 percent in 2013,” the IMF report said.
India’s hard times aren’t out of step with the world. The IMF’s growth forecast for advanced economies including the U.S., Germany and U.K. is 1.3% for 2012; Brazil’s forecast of 1.5% represents a one percentage point downward revision.
But sub-5% growth in India has some very perilous implications for the country. Indeed, anything below 6% growth can lead to rising unemployment in a nation where millions of young people are joining the workforce each year. The Kelkar Committee, an expert panel that recently submitted recommendations to the finance ministry on fiscal policy, said growth of 6% could translate into 2.4% employment growth, too slow to keep up with 2.5% labor force growth.
Mr. Singh in his recent remarks to a Planning Commission meeting made it clear how high the stakes are. In making a case that policymakers need to break out of their state of gridlock, he said: “If this continues for any length of time, vicious cycles begin to set in and growth could easily collapse to about 5 percent per annum, with very poor outcomes on inclusion. I urge everyone interested in the country’s future to understand fully the implications of this scenario. They will quickly come to an agreement that the people of India deserve better than this.”
Amol Sharma is an India Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
IMF Cuts India Growth Forecast to 4.9%
About P Chidambaram
His grand uncles and grand father were the Co-founders of Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank, United India Insurance and Annamalai University. He is married to Nalini Chidambaram, daughter of Justice (Retd.) Kailasam, Supreme Court, and Mrs. Soundra Kailasam, a renowned Tamil Poet and author, who is a Senior Advocate and a tax lawyer practicing in the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court, primarily in litigation related to the Central Excise department of the Government of India. He has a son, Karti P. Chidambaram, who graduated with a BBA degree from the University of Texas, and a Bachelors in Law from Cambridge University. His son is also a politician in the Congress party and consultant and CEO of many companies. Chidambaram is an atheist. Click here for more...
Tail piece: Chidambaram as FM only sees $$ in FDI's... He is Master of Mathematics, Money and Magic!

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