A new year comes with hope and belief in the betterment from the past year. After a recovery phase in the second of 2022, there is a ton of optimism in 2023. The expectation for an improved economic progress is not totally unfounded considering that the Indian economy managed to remain in a growth trajectory with the Covid-19 aftershocks reducing steadily. The year began with steady or marginal decrease in economic forecasts by global financial institutions. India is showcasing its capabilities globally with the aim to attract foreign investment and increase interest of global business units in its infrastructure and delivery capabilities.
IMF Impact – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently released its World Economic Outlook January 2023 report titled ‘Inflation Peaking amid Low Growth’. The report mentioned that growth in India is set to decline from 6.8 percent in 2022 (as reported by Asia Law Portal in October 2022) to 6.1 percent in 2023 before picking up to 6.8 percent in 2024, with resilient domestic demand despite external headwinds. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Chief Economist and Director, Research Department of the IMF mentioned that “Our growth projections actually for India are unchanged from our October Outlook. We have 6.8 per cent growth for this current fiscal year, which runs until March, and then we’re expecting some slowdown to 6.1 percent in fiscal year 2023. And that is largely driven by external factors”.
World Bank – The World Bank recently released its Global Economic Prospects, January 2023 report. As per the report, growth in India is projected to slow from 8.7 percent in FY2021/22 to 6.9 percent in FY2022/23, the latter revised 0.6 percentage point lower since June (as reported by Asia Law Portal here). The slowdown in the global economy and rising uncertainty will weigh on export and investment growth. Government’s increased infrastructure spending and various business facilitation measures, however, will crowd-in private investment and support the expansion of manufacturing capacity. Growth is projected to slow, to 6.6 percent in FY2023/24 before falling back toward its potential rate of just above 6 percent. In India, growth expanded by 9.7 percent on an annual basis in the first half of fiscal year 2022/23, reflecting strong private consumption and fixed investment growth. Consumer inflation spent most of last year above the Reserve Bank of India’s upper tolerance limit of 6 percent, prompting the policy rate to be raised by 2.25 percentage points between May and December. India’s goods trade deficit has more than doubled since 2019, and was $24 billion in November, with deficits for crude petroleum and petroleum products ($7.6 billion) and other commodities (for example, ores and minerals at $4.2 billion) accounting for the widening.
Data Protection Bill – The Central Government has informed India’s Supreme Court that it intends to introduce the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, in the Parliament “at the earliest.” The centre’s affidavit to the apex court stated, “MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) initiated a stakeholder consultation exercise on the draft Bill, inviting comments from the public on 18.11.2022, the last date for receipt of which was 2.1.2023. MeitY is in the process of collating and analysing the feedback and suggestions received, with a view to take the draft Bill forward. As is evident from the above steps taken and consultations initiated, MeitY, subject to fulfilment of procedural requirements, intends to introduce the aforesaid bill in Parliament at the earliest.” The Bill was announced in November 2022, as reported by Asia Law Portal here.
World Economic Forum – In line with this year’s WEF theme, “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, India has reiterated its position as a resilient economy with a strong leadership providing stable policy to the global investors at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos. India’s focus areas at WEF this year are investment opportunities, infrastructural landscape and its inclusive & sustainable growth story. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) marked India’s presence at WEF through three lounges with focus on investment opportunity, sustainability and inclusive approach to compliment economic growth. There was a footfall of almost 500 people across all three India lounges on arrival day. There was tremendous positive sentiment and great interest towards India.
Union Budget – Like the previous two Union Budgets, Union Budget 2023-24 will also be delivered in paperless form. The Union Budget 2023-24 is to be presented on 1st February, 2023. All the 14 Union Budget documents, including the Annual Financial Statement (commonly known as Budget), Demand for Grants (DG), Finance Bill etc. as prescribed by the Constitution, will be available on the “Union Budget Mobile App” for hassle-free access of Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public using the simplest form of digital convenience. It is bilingual (English & Hindi) and will be available on both Android and iOS platforms.