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Economic growth is projected to strengthen to above 7%, gradually recovering from the transitory adverse impact of rolling out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and measures to choke off the black economy, including demonetisation. In the longer run, the GST will boost corporate investment, productivity and growth by creating a single market and reducing the cost of capital equipment. Investment will be further supported by the plan to recapitalise public banks and by the new road plan.
Recent measures to digitise the economy and improve tax compliance should boost tax revenue in the medium term. They are accompanied by an increase in public pensions and wages, as well as debt write-offs in some states, resulting in a broadly neutral fiscal stance over the projection period. Given the high public debt-to-GDP ratio, increasing social infrastructure, such as health and education, will require raising more property and income tax revenue. With inflation expectations adjusting down, there could be room for further cuts in interest rates if inflation durably remains below 4%.
Non-performing loans have increased, largely reflecting recognition efforts, and are particularly high in public banks. Steps have been taken to clean up banks' balance sheets, giving creditors more control over the stressed entities. A new bankruptcy law is also being implemented. The large recapitalisation plan for public banks should be accompanied by governance reform. External debt remains low and foreign exchange reserves have increased, reducing vulnerabilities.
Economic Survey of India (survey page)