The central bank also decided to keep the cash reserve at 4.0 percent, to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 percent and to maintain daily variable rate repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity.
Excerpts from the statement by Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor:
In India, inflation has evolved closely along the trajectory set by the monetary policy stance. With unfavourable base effects on the ebb and benign prices of fruits and vegetables and crude oil, the January 2016 target of 6 per cent should be met. Going forward, under the assumption of a normal monsoon and the current level of international crude oil prices and exchange rates, inflation is expected to be inertial and be around 5 percent by the end of fiscal 2016-17.
For 2016-17, growth is expected to strengthen gradually, notwithstanding significant headwinds. Expectations of a normal monsoon after two consecutive years of rainfall deficiency, the large positive terms of trade gain, improving real incomes of households and lower input costs of firms should contribute to strengthening the growth momentum. Yet, still weak domestic private investment demand in a phase of balance sheet adjustments, re-emergence of concerns relating to stalled projects, excess capacity in industry, sluggish external demand conditions dampening export growth could act as headwinds.
The current momentum of growth is reasonable, though below what should be expected over the medium term. Underlying growth drivers need to be rekindled to place the economy durably on a higher growth trajectory. The revival of private investment, in particular, has a crucial role, especially as the climate for business improves and fiscal policy continues to consolidate. The Indian economy is currently being viewed as a beacon of stability because of the steady disinflation, a modest current account deficit and commitment to fiscal rectitude. This needs to be maintained so that the foundations of stable and sustainable growth are strengthened. The Reserve Bank continues to be accommodative even as it leaves the policy rate unchanged in this review, while awaiting further data on the development of inflation. Structural reforms in the forthcoming Union Budget that boost growth while controlling spending will create more space for monetary policy to support growth, while also ensuring that inflation remains on the projected path of 5 percent by the end of 2016-17.