India’s GDP growth of 7.1 per cent achieved last fiscal is not as encouraging as it might seem despite the expansion rate being better than all developed countries, according to Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj.
Impact of lack of significant investments in the last 4-5 years; inability of private sector to put in fresh capital with availing of loans becoming an issue due to rising NPAs of banks, along with demonetisation were mainly responsible for dampening growth, he said.
“I thought of starting with encouraging news about India’s economic growth in 2016-17. But as I started looking at the latest evidence, it didn’t seem as encouraging as I believed it might be,” Bajaj said in his address to shareholders in the company’s Annual Report for 2016-17.
He said in its latest advance estimate, the Central Statistical Organisation has pegged India’s real GDP growth for last financial year at 7.1 per cent.
“No doubt it is better than all developed countries and most emerging markets including China. However, it is not as good as the 7.9 per cent GDP growth achieved in FY2016,” Bajaj said.
While the country has grown, the veteran industrialist said, “We possibly have a longer way to go to attain a steady state annual growth rate between 7.5 per cent and 8 per cent, which is what we need to create a launch-pad for greater employment, a more significant global economic presence and accelerated poverty reduction.”
Elaborating on three factors that have played a role in dampening growth, Bajaj said there has been a lack of significant investments over the last four to five years.
“Of late, there has been a serious effort at government investments in some key infrastructure areas. But that takes time to translate into additional income and employment. And truth be told, there is hardly any private sector investment worth the name,” he said.
Underlining the impact of rising bad loans and its impact on private sector investments, he said the non-performing assets (NPAs) of 27 public sector banks were estimated at Rs 6,47,759 crore, or 88 per cent of the total recorded NPAs across all banks. This represents a 140 per cent increase over what it was two years earlier, and constitutes 12 per cent of total loans and advances, he added.