There is an uptick in GDP growth at 7.3% in 2014-15 as compared to 6.9% in 2013-14, however lots need to be done at the ground level as far as agriculture sector is concern.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, has released the provisional estimates of national income for the financial year 2014-15 and quarterly estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter (January-March) of 2014-15, both at constant (2011-12) and current prices.
And data released are not very encouraging for agriculture sector. The growth in the ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ is estimated to be 0.2 percent.
In the agriculture sector, the third advance estimates of crop production released by the Ministry of Agriculture showed downward revision as compared to their second advance estimates in food grain production (251.12 million Tonnes from 257.07million Tonnes)for the year 2014-15 registering a decline of 2.3 percent as compared to second advance estimates and decline of 5.4 percent as compared to the final estimates of 2013-14.
According to the second advance estimate of horticulture crops, fruits and vegetables registered growth of 2.1 percent. Due to this revision in the production, ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ sector in 2014-15 has shown a growth rate of 0.2 percent, as against the growth rate of 1.1percent in the Advance estimates.
Alok B Shriram, President, PHD Chamber said, “The growth of agriculture sector should be looked in seriously as there is a significant decline from 3.7 percent in 2013-14 to 0.2 percent in 2014-15. There must be policy focus to mitigate the impact of excess/ deficient monsoons.”
“Improvement in agriculture infrastructure in terms of supply chain, godowns, cold chain alongwith improvement in the irrigation system is the need of the hour,” he added.
“The decline in Gross Value Added (GVA) growth from 7.9 in H1FY15 to 6.5 percent in H2FY15 was led by a broad-based slowdown in industrial expansion and an unsurprising contraction in agriculture following the weak kharif harvest in Q3FY15 and crop damage in Q4FY15,” said Aditi Nayar, Senior Economist, ICRA.
"The 7.5 percent GDP growth rate witnessed in Q4 of 2014-15 (y-o-y) signals definite positive developments," said Rana Kapoor, President, Assocham said.
However, he said, "Agriculture, electricity, gas, water supply& other utility services and construction remain to be the key areas of concern. For instance, agriculture’s gross value added has turned negative; electricity, gas, water supply & other utility services performance also seems to have slowed down from the 5.9 percent seen in Q4 of 2013-14 to 4.2 percent in Q4 2014-15."
Agriculture output may be impacted with a sub-normal Monsoon forecast this year, weak demand remains a persisting concern and a firm turnaround in the domestic capex cycle is awaited, said A Didar Singh, Secretary General, Ficci.
Going forward, the government needs to keep on pushing more ground level reforms and improve implementation so as to realize the economy’s true potential. The need is for creating an investment and industry friendly environment that is largely focused on growth, job creation, poverty alleviation and passing the benefits of the economic growth to the lowest sections of the economy.