5% GDP growth in first quarter a ‘surprise’, analysing why it happened: RBI Governor
New Delhi, Sep 16: RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday admitted that the low GDP growth of 5 per cent was a "surprise", but expressed confidence that the economy will look up with a host of measures taken by the government.
The RBI chief said that the RBI has been cutting rates to give a boost to the economy as slowdown was visible for past few months.
The RBI slashed benchmark interest rate four times consecutively since January 2019. The central bank reduced the repo (short term lending) rate by 1.10 percentage points during the year.
"I think with right measures taken, things should improve. It's a positive trend that the government is responding very fast and I don't think we have heard the last from the government with regard to dealing with the current economic situation ... My expectation is that it will be a continuous process and they would definitely be dealing with other challenges," he told news channels.
The government announced a slew of measures in three dosages which include a special window for real estate, export incentives, bank consolidation and sops for MSMEs and the automobile sector.
With regard to structural reforms, he said the RBI has already pointed out in its annual report.
"I think one major thing would be agriculture marketing. Definitely, I would expect some action from the government with regard to reforms in agricultural marketing," he said.
Expressing concern over the first quarter GDP numbers, the RBI Governor said the numbers definitely looked much worse because the RBI had projected 5.8 per cent.
"I think almost everybody had projected not below 5.5 per cent or so, but the number 5 per cent is a surprise," he said.
He also said the second quarter growth of all advanced economies was lower than the first quarter so there is a deceleration.
"But again I am not trying to justify our slowdown through the prism of the global slowdown although global slowdown does impact growth and results in slowdown we have domestic issues also," he said.
Asked when will the economy see revival, Das said it is difficult to make an estimate as there are many things which are still playing out.
"Now for example the Saudi oil crisis it was something totally unanticipated. The trade issue between two largest economies some statements here it appears that they are going on the brink but then they pull back...so much of uncertainty happening all around," he said.
How various factors play out in the second quarter, the RBI will analyse and make assessment, he added.