India to be fastest growing big economy in 2016: UN

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) India will be the fastest growing big economy in the world in 2016, a United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016 report said on Friday.

“India’s economy, which accounts for over 70 percent of South Asia’s GDP, is projected to grow by 7.3 percent in 2016 and 7.5 percent in 2017, slightly up from an estimated 7.2 percent in 2015,” the UN report released here said.

“As in other countries of the region, the macroeconomic environment in India has improved, helped by the sharp decline in the prices of oil, metals and food,” it said.

“Consumer and investor confidence has risen even as India’s government faces difficulties in implementing its wide-ranging reform agenda and some economic indicators, such as industrial production, remain volatile,” it added.

South Asia is expected to be the world’s fastest growing region in 2016 and 2017 despite challenging global conditions, the report said.

“India is an exception in the global scene with improved macro economic foundations and economic reforms,” said Nagesh Kumar, head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP) south and south-west Asia office here.

“Spending on infrastructure, health and education is very low compared to other nations such as China in the region. The decline in oil prices of course provides some room to offset the burden of fuel bill,” he said.

“So this is the time for India to recheck fiscal efforts and raise revenues and do more spending on some of the social sectors,” he added.

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