Union Budget 2018: Over to the finance minister

A day before Union Budget 2018, fresh data showed that the Indian economy performed worse than estimated in the National Democratic Alliance’s first year in office (2014-15), better than estimated in its second year (2015-16) and as estimated in its third year (2016-17).

This, however, will not change anything for finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Though the Central Statistics Office (CSO) did not revise the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for 2016-17, the higher growth in gross value added (GVA) in 2016-17 at 7.1%—the same as the GDP figure for the year—means the government exhausted robust indirect taxes collections in paying the subsidy bill. (GDP is calculated by adding net indirect taxes to GVA). The government had raised excise duties on petroleum products during the year due to lower crude prices.

Separately, data released by the industries department showed eight core sector industries grew at their slowest pace in five months in December at 4%, though cement production, a bellwether for economic activity, continued to grow in double digits.livemint