Noting that downside risks to growth remain escalated due to threat from the pandemic and challenges arising out of ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, industry body FICCI on Sunday pegged the GDP (gross domestic product) growth at 7.4% for 2022-23. “The latest round of FICCI’s Economic Outlook Survey puts forth an annual median GDP growth forecast for 2022-23 at 7.4% – with a minimum and maximum growth estimate of 6% and 7.8% respectively,” the industry body said. Based on the findings of the survey conducted in the month of March 2022, the industry body estimates the growth in agriculture and allied activities to be at 3.3% during the current fiscal while industry and services sector are anticipated to grow by 5.9% and 8.5% respectively. The participants in the survey flagged inflation as the most significant risk for India as well as surging crude oil prices are likely to adversely impact India’s macros. Further, increase in oil prices coupled with the sharp fall in rupee value is inflating India’s import bill adding to the stress on current account. The survey said that Russia-Ukraine crisis has amplified the cost pressures being faced by producers. “This will further postpone private investment as average capacity utilization remains below the level that could trigger new investments. Limited ability to pass on rising cost of inputs is eroding profitability of businesses. The cost escalation may hit the cash flow going ahead and is weighing heavy on their capex plans,” the survey found. On the monetary policy, the survey participants were of unanimous view that the Reserve Bank of India will refrain from undertaking policy reversal in the forthcoming monetary policy to be announced on April 8, 2022. “Even though upside risks to inflation have magnified with the escalation of Russia and Ukraine conflict and the growth-inflation dynamics has also come under lens, the monetary policy committee is expected to look through temporary inflation spikes in the near term,” they said. As per the survey, the skyrocketing prices of crude oil and industrial inputs is pressurizing prices through imported inflation. “Even though the passage to consumers has been limited so far, the economists expect a pass through next fiscal onwards. The economists were of the view, that the Reserve Bank of India will look at reversing its stance in the second half of the current year (2022) and one can expect a rate hike between 50-75 bps by end of this fiscal year,” FICCI said.