India is ‘dangerously close’ to Hindu rate of growth: Raghuram Rajan
India is ‘dangerously close’ to Hindu rate of growth: Raghuram Rajan

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that India is "dangerously close" to the Hindu rate of growth in view of subdued private sector investment, high interest rates and slowing global growth. He said that sequential slowdown in the quarterly growth, as revealed by the latest estimate of national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) last month, was worrying.

Hindu rate of growth is a term describing low Indian economic growth rates from the 1950s to the 1980s. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter (OctDec) of the current fiscal slowed to 4.4 % from 6.3 % in the second quarter (July Sept) and 13.2 % in the first quarter (April-June).

The growth in the third quarter of the previous financial year was 5.2 %. "Of course, the optimists will point to the upward revisions in past GDP numbers, but I am worried about the sequential slowdown. With the private sector unwilling to invest, the RBI still hiking rates, and global growth likely to slow later in the year, I am not sure where we find additional growth momentum," Rajan said.

The key question is what Indian growth will be in fiscal 2023-24, Rajan said, adding "I am worried that earlier we would be lucky if we hit 5 % growth. The latest October-December Indian GDP numbers (4.4 % on year ago and 1 % relative to the previous quarter) suggest slowing growth from the heady numbers in the first half of the year. "My fears were not misplaced. The RBI projects an even lower 4.2 % for the last quarter of this fiscal. At this point, the average annual growth of the October-December quarter relative to the similar pre-pandemic quarter 3 years ago is 3.7 %.

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