Economic and Political Overview

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In this page: Economic Outline | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response


Economic Outline

Economic Overview

India is the world’s fifth-largest economy. After experiencing robust performance in 2022 (+7.2%), real GDP growth was expected to decelerate to 6.3% in 2023 and 2024-25 due to adverse weather-related events and a deteriorating international outlook (IMF). The beginning of FY 2023-24 witnessed robust growth propelled by public investment and private consumption. Nonetheless, the global economic slowdown has adversely affected merchandise trade. The risks are tilted to the downside: while indicators indicate that India's growth remains stable at present, there are significant challenges arising from increased global uncertainty. Moreover, the delayed effects of domestic policy tightening persist, alongside disappointing trends in certain socio-economic indicators, such as consumer goods sales, particularly in rural areas.

Concerning public finances, according to data from the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), the government's fiscal deficit reached INR 9.06 lakh crore, accounting for 50.7% of the full-year budget estimate. In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit amounted to INR 9,06,584 crore during the April-October period of 2023-24. In comparison, during the corresponding period last year, the deficit stood at 58.9% of the budget estimates of 2022-23. For 2024, the IMF forecasts a budget deficit of 8.5%, with a reduction to 8% by 2025. Meanwhile, the debt-to-GDP ratio increased marginally to 81.9% in 2023 and is expected to further increase to 82.2% by 2025 (IMF). The tightening of monetary policy has effectively addressed inflationary pressures, albeit at the cost of dampening household consumption and corporate investment. Headline inflation eased in the first half of 2023, falling below the upper threshold of the central bank’s 2-6% target range by September. However, food and energy prices continue to be susceptible to weather conditions and geopolitical tensions. For the year as a whole, the IMF estimated an inflation rate of 5.5%, with a decrease expected over the forecast horizon (4.6% this year and 4.1% in 2025).

In April 2023, India overtook China’s mainland as the world’s most populous country. Moreover, India has the world’s largest youth population, nevertheless, according to the OECD, over 30% of India's youth are NEETs (not in employment, education or training). India continues to suffer from a low GDP per capita (USD 9,183 in 2023, PPP), and almost 25% of the population still lives below the poverty line (about one-third of the world’s population living on under USD 1.90/day lives in India). The country's inequalities are very strong: the richest 1% of the population own more than half of the country’s wealth. Additionally, the informal sector, where the vast majority of India’s labour force is employed, has been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing their risk of slipping back into poverty. According to the CMIE, the unemployment rate in India, among persons aged 15 years and above, fell to 8.7% in December 2023 from 8.9% in the previous month. Although the unemployment rate eased in December, it remained at fairly high levels.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 3,353.473,572.083,937.014,339.834,789.83
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,3662,5002,7312,9843,265
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -9.3-8.7-7.9-7.7-7.3
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 81.782.782.581.880.9
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -66.97-43.07-55.12-69.20-86.24
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.0-1.2-1.4-1.6-1.8

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, Latest data available.

Note : (E) Estimated data


Main Sectors of Industry

India is the world's fourth agricultural power. As a central pillar of the Indian economy, agriculture contributes 16.7% of the GDP and employs 44% of the active population (World Bank, latest data available). The country's main agricultural products are wheat, millet, rice, corn, sugar cane, tea, potatoes, cotton, bananas, guava, mango, lemon, papaya, and chickpea. India is also the fifth-largest producer of cattle and sheep, as well as the third-largest in fishing production in the world. The spices sector is also very pronounced, particularly the production of ginger, pepper and chilli. Food grain and horticulture production hit a record high in the July 2022 to June 2023 crop year: according to official data, final estimates for food grain output stood at a record 329.68 million tonnes, up 4% y-o-y and 30.8 million tonnes higher than the previous five years’ average. Meanwhile, the total production of rice in 2022-23 was estimated at a record 135.75 million tonnes (+4.8% y-o-y), while that of wheat stood at 110.55 million tonnes.

The industry sector employs 25% of the workforce and accounts for 25.7% of GDP (World Bank). Its main sectors include manufacturing, textiles, chemicals, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals, with manufacturing being a cornerstone of the national economy. Emerging sectors such as biotechnology, renewable energy, and aerospace are gaining traction, fueled by technological advancements and government initiatives. Coal is the country's main energy source, with India being the world's second-largest producer of coal. In the manufacturing industry, textile plays a predominant role, and, in terms of size, the chemical industry is the second-largest industrial sector. According to figures from Standard & Poor's, for the first five months of the 2023-24 fiscal year, industrial production rose by 6.1% year-on-year, while manufacturing output rose by 5.8%.

The services sector is the most dynamic part of the Indian economy. It contributes to almost half of GDP (48.4%), but it only employs 31% of the workforce. Key sectors include information technology and IT-enabled services (ITES), which have propelled India onto the global stage as a technology hub, with cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad emerging as major IT centres. The rapidly growing software sector has been boosting the export of services and modernising the Indian economy: the country has capitalised on its large educated English-speaking population to become a major exporter of IT services, business outsourcing services and software workers. Additionally, the financial services industry, including banking, insurance, and capital markets, plays a crucial role in supporting economic growth and facilitating investment. India's healthcare sector is also rapidly expanding, driven by increasing demand for quality healthcare services. Furthermore, the education and hospitality sectors are experiencing growth, fueled by rising domestic and international demand. Emerging sectors include e-commerce, renewable energy, and digital entertainment.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 44.0 25.3 30.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 16.6 25.6 48.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.3 3.6 9.4

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.


Find more information about your business sector on our service Market Reports.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Droupadi Murmu (since 25 July 2022) - BJP
Prime Minister: Narendra Modi (since 26 May 2014) – BJP
Next Election Dates
Presidential: July 2027
Legislative: April-May 2024
Current Political Context
In March 2022, the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious in four out of five state elections. In December 2022, they secured a landslide victory in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This positions the BJP significantly ahead of its competitors for the upcoming general election, mandated to be held by May 2024. The BJP's dominance has been facilitated by the division within the opposition, notably the Congress Party, both at the national and local levels.
In 2023, the Winter Session of Parliament faced disruptions following an incident on December 13 when intruders entered the Lok Sabha chamber and released coloured gas, coinciding with the anniversary of the 2001 Parliament attack. Opposition parties demanded a statement from Union Minister Amit Shah regarding the security breach, leading to the suspension of 146 MPs across both Houses, marking the highest number of suspensions in Parliament's history. On July 18, multiple political parties united under the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to challenge the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the forthcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Furthermore, assembly elections took place in nine states across India, namely Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Karnataka, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana. The BJP emerged victorious in four states, the Congress secured victory in two, and regional parties clinched the remaining three.
Main Political Parties
The main parties in India include:

- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): right-wing, pro-Hindu, nationalist ideology; heads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition and has been the ruling political party of India for the past eight years
- Indian National Congress (INC): centre to centre-left, big tent party, social democratic, secular; a major party involved in the independence movement; heads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) opposition coalition
- Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK): centre-left, social democratic, regionalist
- All India Trinamool Congress (AITC): centre to centre-right, Bengali nationalist, populist
- Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP):
centre-left, regional, based in the state of Andhra Pradesh
- Janata Dal (United - JDU): socialism, left-wing
- Shiv Sena (SHS): right-wing, conservatism
- Biju Janata Dal (BJD): centre to centre-left, social democratic, liberal, populist
- Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP): centre-left, social equality. India's third major political party, whose electorate is mainly composed of Dalits and low castes
- Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS): centre, populism
- Telugu Desam Party (TDP): centre-right, neoliberal, populist, regionalist
- Communist Party of India (CPI): far-left, Communist, Marxist-Leninist
- Nationalist Congress Party (NCP): centre to centre-left, nationalist
- National People's Party (NPP): centre to centre-left, regionalist, ethnocentrist.
Type of State
India is a federal republic state based on parliamentary democracy.
Executive Power
The President is the Chief of State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He/she is indirectly elected for a five-year term by an electoral college, which consists of elected members of both houses of Parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of each of India's states and territories.
The Prime Minister is the Head of Government and is chosen by Lok Sabha members (House of the People, lower chamber) of the majority party, following legislative elections, to serve a term of five years. The President, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appoints the Cabinet.
Legislative Power
The Indian legislature is bicameral. The Parliament consists of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). The Council of States has 245 members serving a six-year term, while the House of the People has 543 members serving a five-year term.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:
Civil Liberties:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic)underundertaken by the government of India, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.


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Latest Update: July 2024