The NITI Aayog today indicated that it has found the Central Statistical Organisation’s (CSO) advance estimate of 4.4% growth in agriculture for the third quarter of 2016-17 disappointing.
It felt that the impact of demonetisation has been given more weightage, while calculating the figure, which, according to a senior NITI Aayog official, should not have been “less than 6%”.
Indicating that the year (2016-17) will end with a robust average agriculture growth of 6%, NITI Aayog Member (Agriculture) Ramesh Chand said, “We are expecting that the primary sector will provide a major boost to the overall economy, which will help country in overcoming the sluggish sentiments triggered by demonetisation.”
Claiming that since the CSO could not take into account the progression of the informal sectors into the formal economy after “currency swap”, Chand said, enough indications were there that the advance estimate of 7% GDP growth in the third quarter would be further revised upwardly.
“The CSO has given its advanced estimate as per the value addition by factoring in the input cost in the agriculture sector. According to our assessment, the aggregate crop growth for the year 2016-17 would be 10%.
The overall agricultural growth by including the allied activities, including fisheries, horticulture and animal husbandry, should be 6%. The CSO estimate of 4.4% is well below our assessment,” Chand said.
Incidentally, agriculture had grown by an average 0.5% in the first two years of the Narendra Modi government, which reflected agrarian distress across the country on account of below average Monsoon, besides hailstorms and unseasonal rains coupled with drought conditions.
A general view in the NITI Aayog is that the government’s decision on demonetisation has little or no impact on agriculture.
For the officials in the think tank, farmers lost income on account of price crash of the perishables, including vegetables and fruits.
“The day Prime Minister announced the government’s decision on currency swap, the rabi sowing was almost complete,” said a senior official.
20 Feb 2020
21 Feb 2020