The economy is expected to grow over 8 per cent this fiscal with the forecast of above-normal monsoon raising hopes of the agriculture sector's revival after two successive drought years, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya said on Tuesday.
"The economic growth rate will be more than 8 per cent during the current fiscal. There is a forecast of above-normal monsoon this fiscal," Panagariya said after delivering a lecture organised by the Central Vigilance Commission in New Delhi.
He said the economic growth in the current fiscal could be even higher in view of policy and monetary interventions by the government and the Reserve Bank, which will ultimately push the sluggish industrial growth.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also expressed hope that good rains will propel India's economic growth to 8.5 per cent during the current fiscal, higher than Central Statistics Office advance estimates of 7.6 per cent for 2015-16.
Earlier this month, Indian Meteorological Department has forecasted above-normal monsoon during this kharif season raising hopes of buoyancy in the economy this fiscal.
According to IMD, there are 94 per cent chances of country receiving "normal to above normal" rainfall while there is only 1 per cent probability of "deficient" rainfall.
Agriculture, which contributes 15 per cent to India's GDP and employs about 60 per cent of the country's population, is heavily dependent on monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
Due to poor monsoon in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), 10 states have declared drought and the Centre has sanctioned a relief package of about Rs 10,000 crore to help farmers.
In 2015, the monsoon deficiency was 14 per cent with Northwest India recording a deficiency of 17 per cent, followed by 16 per cent in Central India, 15 per cent in Southern Peninsula and 8 per cent in East and North-east India.
In 2014, the monsoon deficiency was 12.3 per cent of the Long Period Average.
The interest regime is also conducive for the economic growth now as the Reserve Bank has cut the key interest rate by 0.25 per cent to and introduced a host of measures to smoothen liquidity supply so that banks can lend to the productive sectors and indicated accommodative stance going ahead earlier this month.
The repo rate, at which RBI lends to the financial system, has come down to 6.5 per cent. This will also push economic activities. More PTI KKS
Meanwhile, government's think tank Niti Aayog, in collaboration with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and Temasek Foundation Singapore, is organising an urban management programme for capacity building of officials of the state governments and the urban local bodies.
The programme, that will see participation from officials of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh & Assam, will focus on the implementation of the Urban Rejuvenation Mission, Niti Aayog said.
It will cover urban planning & governance, water, waste water & solid waste management and public financing (PPP) of urban infrastructure, it added.
The programme, scheduled to be launched on April 27, will be chaired by Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya and will be attended by NITI Aayog member Dr Bibek Debroy, High Commissioner of Singapore, CEO of Singapore Co-operation Enterprise and the CEO of Temasek Foundation.
During the programme, experts from Singapore would impart training in highly interactive workshops and share Singapore's and international experiences with the participants.
Towards the end of the progaramme, Strategic Base Line Frameworks will be developed in this areas of Urban Management, the Aayog said.