India will remain the fastest-growing major economy for at least the next three years, setting it on course to become the world's third-largest economy by 2030, S&P Global Ratings said in a report.
S&P expects India, currently the world's fifth-largest economy, to grow at 6.4% this fiscal and estimates growth will pick up to 7% by fiscal 2027. In contrast, it expects China's growth to slow to 4.6% by 2026 from an estimated 5.4% this year.
India's gross domestic product (GDP) grew a bigger-than-expected 7.6% in the second quarter of fiscal 2024, data showed last week, which prompted several brokerages to raise their full-year estimate.
However, S&P, which had raised its forecast even before the latest data, said India's growth will depend on its successful transition to a manufacturing-dominated economy from a services-dominated one.
"A paramount test will be whether India can become the next big global manufacturing hub, an immense opportunity," S&P said in its Global Credit Outlook 2024 report, dated Dec. 4.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been driving domestic manufacturing thorugh the "Make in India" campaign and production-linked incentives (PLIs), the share of manufacturing is still roughly 18% of GDP.
In contrast, services account for over half of India's GDP.
S&P said that developing a strong logistics framework is key to becoming a manufacturing hub and that India also needs to "upskill" its workers and increase female participation in the workforce to realize its "demographic dividend."
India has one of the youngest working populations in the world, with nearly 53% of its citizens under the age of 30. (Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)