AT A GLANCE
India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and is poised to continue on this path, with aspirations to reach high middle income status by 2047, the centenary of Indian independence. It is also committed to ensuring that its continued growth path is equipped to deal with the challenges of climate change, and in line with its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
The growth of the past two decades has also led to India making remarkable progress in reducing extreme poverty. Between 2011 and 2019, the country is estimated to have halved the share of the population living in extreme poverty - below $2.15 per person per day (2017 PPP) (World Bank Poverty and Inequality Portal and Macro Poverty Outlook, Spring 2023). In recent years, however, the pace of poverty reduction has slowed especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since moderated in 2021-22.
Certain challenges persist. Inequality in consumption continues, with a Gini index of around 35 over the past two decades. Child malnutrition has remained high, with 35.5 percent of children under the age of 5 years being stunted, with the figure rising to 67 percent for children in the 6-59 months age group. Headline employment indicators have improved since 2020 but concerns remain about the quality of jobs created and the real growth in wages, as well as around the low participation of women in the laborforce.
India’s aspiration to achieve high income status by 2047 will need to be realized through a climate-resilient growth process that delivers broad-based gains to the bottom half of the population. Growth-oriented reforms will need to be accompanied by an expansion in good jobs that keeps pace with the number of labor market entrants. At the same time, gaps in economic participation will need to be addressed, including by bringing more women into the workforce.
The World Bank is partnering with the government in this effort by helping strengthen policies, institutions, and investments to create a better future for the country and its people through green, resilient, and inclusive development.
After real GDP contracted in FY20/21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, growth bounced back strongly in FY21/22, supported by accommodative monetary and fiscal policies and wide vaccine coverage. Consequently, in 2022, India emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, despite significant challenges in the global environment – including renewed disruptions of supply lines following the rise in geopolitical tensions, the synchronized tightening of global monetary policies, and inflationary pressures.
In FY22/23, India’s real GDP expanded at an estimated 6.9 percent. Growth was underpinned by robust domestic demand, strong investment activity bolstered by the government’s push for investment in infrastructure, and buoyant private consumption, particularly among higher income earners. The composition of domestic demand also changed, with government consumption being lower due to fiscal consolidation.
Since Q3 FY22/23, however, there have been signs of moderation, although the overall growth momentum remains robust. The persisting headwinds – rising borrowing costs, tightening financial conditions and ongoing inflationary pressures – are expected to weigh on India’s growth in FY23/24. Real GDP growth is likely to moderate to 6.3 percent in FY23/24 from the estimated 6.9 percent in FY22/23.
Both the general government fiscal deficit and public debt to GDP ratio increased sharply in FY20/21 and have been declining gradually since then, with the fiscal deficit falling from over 13 percent in FY20/21 to an estimated 9.4 percent in FY22/23. Public debt has fallen from over 87 percent of GDP to around 83 percent over the same period. The consolidation has largely been driven by an increase in revenues and a gradual withdrawal of pandemic-related stimulus measures. At the same time, the government has remained committed to increasing capital spending, particularly on infrastructure, to boost growth and competitiveness.
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2023