Interview: India’s burgeoning population needs substantial employment creation, says Dr Mukesh Jindal of Alpha Capital

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on Apr 1, 2024
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  • The Indian government's push for FDI in manufacturing and CAPEX investments is commendable.
  • India's GDP data, with a potential deviation of ±5%, falls within expected precision.
  • For India, the GDP figure includes net taxes, which can amplify the GDP in relation to GVA.

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India has retained its title of the world’s fastest-growing major economy as it expanded 8.4% in the last three months of 2023, from a year earlier.

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This is what the data and the government tell us. But in the realm of India’s economic discourse, the disjunction between GDP growth figures and the tangible realities of economic conditions has sparked much debate and scrutiny. 

I sat down with Dr. Mukesh Jindal, Partner at Alpha Capital, to get a better understanding of the complexities of India’s economic landscape. Edited excerpts:

Invezz interview: Dr Mukesh Jindal, Partner, Alpha Capital

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Invezz: Why do you think there is such a disparity between India’s GDP growth and its actual economic condition?

The narrative that India’s GDP growth is not in sync with its economic conditions does not hold much water. A closer examination of high-frequency indicators such as the Manufacturing and Services PMI, bank credit expansion, forex reserves, GST collections, FDI inflows, and inflation rates paints a promising picture.

These metrics collectively suggest a trajectory that aligns with the positive GDP figures, indicating a robust economic momentum steering the nation forward.

Invezz: Which areas of the Indian economy do you believe require the utmost attention?

India’s burgeoning population necessitates the creation of substantial employment opportunities. The manufacturing sector stands as the cornerstone for large-scale job generation.

The government’s concerted efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in manufacturing and escalate Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) investments are commendable.

However, the magnitude of the challenge requires an even more vigorous pursuit and strategic collaborations to achieve the desired scale of economic growth and employment.

The accuracy of India’s GDP data

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Invezz: How accurate or inaccurate do you think India’s GDP data is, and for what reasons? 

In the realm of economic statistics, a degree of variance is inherent. India’s GDP data, with a potential deviation of plus or minus 5%, falls within the expected range of precision for such measurements. This margin reflects the standard calibration adjustments applied to economic data globally, ensuring a realistic portrayal of the nation’s economic pulse.

Invezz: What do you think is the solution to achieve full economic potential for the country?

The Indian government’s robust capital expenditure (CAPEX) is a testament to its dedication to economic fortification. However, the augmentation of private sector involvement in CAPEX is crucial.

By offering greater incentives for establishing new manufacturing units and enticing international manufacturers to Indian shores, we can catalyze a comprehensive economic transformation.

This strategic approach is key to unlocking India’s latent economic prowess and steering it towards a future of prosperity and global competitiveness.

Agricultural reforms are a must for India

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Invezz: How do you believe the infrastructure and agricultural sectors should be enhanced to strengthen the Indian economy?

The Indian government’s commitment to bolstering infrastructure is commendable, with strategic initiatives steering the nation towards progress. The pursuit of agricultural reforms, a pressing need for India, is underway with steadfast efforts to bring them to fruition.

It is anticipated that the forthcoming government term will be pivotal in actualizing these reforms.

A paradigm shift is essential to alleviate the populace’s reliance on agriculture, mirroring the transition observed in advanced economies, thereby diversifying India’s economic framework and propelling it towards sustainable development.

Invezz: Can you tell me how big a role the difference between the GDP and GVA numbers plays in the discrepancy?

In the intricate tapestry of India’s economy, the interplay between Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross Value Added (GVA) is crucial. GDP represents the total market value of all finished goods and services produced within a country, while GVA provides insight into the economic performance of individual sectors.

For India, the GDP figure includes net taxes, which can amplify the GDP in relation to GVA. Adjustments in tax policies or subsidy schemes can artificially inflate GDP figures, potentially masking the true state of economic activity as reflected by GVA.

This nuance is vital for a nuanced understanding of India’s economic vigor and actual productivity across its diverse industries.

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