India's gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to grow an annual rate of 5 percent in the 2012/13 fiscal year, much below the consensus estimate of 5.5 percent, a government statement released Thursday said, citing provisional estimates.
The projection by the statistics department came as a shocker as it is the lowest growth projection issued by the government and the Reserve Bank of India, India's Central Bank, since 2002.
The finance ministry had projected the economy to grow at 5.7 to 5.9 percent during the year, while the RBI had predicted 5.4 percent growth in GDP -- the worst since 2002/03 -- for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.
The International Monetary Fund estimated on Wednesday that India’s economic growth will fall at a worse-than-expected rate of 5.4 percent for the current financial year.
According to the data, during the first two quarters (April-September) of the current financial year the economy grew at 5.4 percent.
India's agriculture sector is expected to grow at 1.8 percent in the current fiscal year, compared with the 3.86 percent growth registered in the previous year. The country's manufacturing sector is seen growing at an estimated 1.9 percent, down from the 2.7 percent growth posted in the previous year.
Service sector growth for the current financial year is expected to slow down to 8.6 percent compared with the 11.7 percent growth posted in the previous year.
Last week, the revised economic growth data for the last financial year ended March 31, 2012, released by the government, showed that the economy grew at 6.2 percent instead of 6.5 percent, which had been estimated earlier.
The unexpected and sharp fall in industrial production and weak export orders in the first-half of the current fiscal year seem to have curtailed economic growth, and analysts feel that the 5 percent growth prediction for the year appears realistic.
"The industrial sector downturn has extended beyond anyone’s expectation. In the first eight months of the year, for almost six months, the manufacturing output has been negative. Exports have been continuously declining; non-food credit growth is slowing while agricultural sector performance has also been sub-optimal. After the government started showing a firm resolve to put things in place in mid-September, the series of data that has been released is also reflecting sustained deterioration across various growth indicators,” Rupe Rege Nitsure, chief economist at Bank of Baroda said.