India is one of the bright spots among the major countries in the subdued global economic context. India recorded a growth of 7.9 per cent in 2015-16, as compared to 7.2 per cent in 2014- 15 and 6.5 per cent in 2013 14. The growth pickup in 2014-15 and 2015-16 was remarkable despite below-normal monsoons. India is estimated to register a robust growth of 7.1 percent in 2016-17, despite the demonetisation of high denomination currencies that aimed at substantive medium to long-term economic benefits. Predictions by expert agencies suggest that India's growth rate is set to improve further in 2017-18. In terms of the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) prepared by World Economic Forum for 138 countries, India ranked 39 in 2016-17, as compared to India's rank in GCI of 60 (among 148 countries)in 2013-14.

The present Government took charge in May 2014 in the backdrop of persistently high inflation, particularly food inflation. Astute food management and price monitoring by the Government in the last three years helped control the stubbornly persistent inflation. CPI inflation remained under control for the third successive financial year. The average CPI (combined) inflation declined from 9.5 per cent in 2013-14 to 5.9 per cent in 2014-15 and 4.9 per cent in 2015- 16. It declined further to 4.6 per cent in the current financial year, upto February 2017 and stood at 3.7 per cent in February 2017 backed by sharp fall in food inflation.

In line with subdued global growth an trade, India s exports declined by 1.3 per cent and 15.5 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively. The trend of negative growth was reversed somewhat during 2016-17 (April-February), with exports registering a growth of 2.5 per cent to US$ 245.4 billion from US$ 239.4 billion in 2015-16 (April- February). Monthly export growth rates have been in positive territory since September 2016.

During 2015-16, India's import declined by 15.0 per cent to US$ 381. 0 billion, mainly due to fall in international crude oil prices, as compared to US$ 448.0 billion in 2014-15. During 2016-17 (April-February), imports declined by 3.7 per cent to US$ 340.7 billion as compared to 353.7 billion in the corresponding period of previous year.

In f low of foreign direct investment increased from US$ 43.6 billion 2013-14 to US$ 51.8 billion in 2014-15 and further to US$ 59.5 billion in 2015-16. During 2016-17 April- December), net FDI was US$ 31.2 billion as compared to US$ 27.2 billion in 2015-16 (April- December). Foreign portfolio investment (net) increased to US$ 8".2 - billion in the first half of 2016-17 from US$ (-) 3.5 billion in the first half of 2015-16. However, net foreign portfolio outflow in the month of December 2016 and January 2017 were at US$ 5.8 billion and US$ 0.5 billion respectively-largely as a result of the Fed Policy with US Federal Reserve raising interest rates. The FPI outflow was not a phenomenon associated with Indian markets alone as FPIs pulled out of most EMEs due to hi her returns in advanced economies.

Foreign exchange reserves touched an all time high level of US$ 371.9 billion in end- September 2016. However, it declined to US$ 361.1 billion at end-November 2016 due to intervention by RBI in forex exchange market to stabilize the rupee and partly because of repayment of maturity amount of FCNR (B) deposits accrued between September-November 2013 during the special swap window opened for NRIs. Foreign exchange reserves stood at US$ 363.0 billion at end-January 2017 as against US$ 358.9 billion at end-December 2016. The current position is at a comfortable level to cushion the exchange rate volatility from any international macroeconomic uncertainty.

Exchange Rate of Rupee

The average monthly exchange rate of rupee for 2016-17 (April- February) was Rs.67.2 per US dollar, indicating a depreciation of 2.8 per cent over the corresponding period of the previous year. This was mainly due to strengthening of the US dollar globally following the US presidential election results and tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve. Nevertheless, in 2016-17 so far, the rupee has performed better than most of other EMES.

At end-September 2016, India's external debt stock stood at US$ 484.3 billion, recording a decline of US$ 0.8 billion (0.2 per cent) over the level at end-March 2016.

Most of the key external debt indicators show an improvement in September 2016. The share of short-term debt in total external debt decreased to 16.8 per cent at end-September 2016 from 17.2 per cent at end-March 2016. India's foreign exchange reserves provided a cover of 76.8 per cent to the total external debt stock at end-September 2016 vis-it-vis 74.3 per cent at end-March 2016.

India continues to be among the less vulnerable nations in terms of its key debt indicators which compare well with other indebted developing countries. According to the World Bank's "International Debt Statistics, 2017"
which gives external debt data of developing countries for 2015, the ratio of India's external debt stock to gross national income (GNI) at 23.4 per cent was the fifth lowest. In terms of the cover provided by foreign exchange reserves to external debt, India's position was sixth highest at 69.7 per cent.

Agriculture and Food Management

 As per the Second Advance Estimates of National Income released on 28th February 2017, the growth rates in Gross Value Added (GVA) of the agriculture and al1ied sectors were at 4.4 per cent in 2016-17,0.8 per cent in 2015-16, (-) 0.2 percent in 2014-15 .As per the second Advance Estimates of production of foodgrains released by Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare on 15th February 2017, production of total foodgrains during 2016-17 is estimated at 271.98 million tonnes compared to 251.57 million tonnes in 2015-16 (Final) and 252.02 million tonnes in 2014-15.

As per the Second Advance Estimates of National Income 2016-17 released by CSO on 28th February 2017, the growth rates in Gross Value Added (GVA) of the industrial sector were 5.8 per cent in 2016-17, 8.2 per cent in 2015-16 and 6.9 per cent in 2014-15. The growth in the GVA from 'manufacturing' sector was 7.7 percent in 2016-17 as compared to growth of 10.6 percent in 2015-16 and 7.5 per cent in 2014-15.

The index for eight core industries (comprising crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, coal, electricity, cement, steel, and fertilizers) registered 4.8 per cent growth in 2016-17 (April-January) as compared to 3.4 percent in 2015-16 and 4.5 per cent in 2014-15.

With the introduction of UDAY scheme in the power sector in 2015, most of the States have made significant efforts to reduce AT &C losses. The scheme has already addressed 62 per cent of the DISCOMs' debt that existed at the end of 2014-15.

As per the Year End Review-2016 released by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, the total length of highways awarded up to November, 2016 was 5688 Ian and total length of highways constructed up to November, 2016 was 4021 Ian as against 6029 km in 2015-16 and 4410 km in 2014-15.

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Courtesy : Yojana