NEW DELHI – India’s economy grew at a much lower than expected 5.8 percent in the January-March period, its slowest pace in 17 quarters, and falling behind China’s pace for the first time in nearly two years, government data showed Friday.
The slowdown will put pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the nation’s central bank to provide stimulus for the economy through fiscal measures and interest rate cuts. Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have only just been re-elected to a second term with an increased majority.
A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a growth of 6.3 percent for the January-March quarter, compared with a 6.6 percent rise in the October-December period of last year.
The Statistics Ministry revised economic growth for the fiscal year to March 31 downward to 6.8 percent from the 7.0 percent estimated earlier.