New Delhi: The Indian economy may be facing tough and challenging times, but it is not all gloom and doom as the situation is likely to improve in the next six months, a Bizcon Survey done by Assocham has said.

"Despite the Indian economy facing tough and challenging times, it is not all gloom and doom. The situation is expected to improve in the next four-six months," it said.

A majority of respondents covered by the Bizcon Surve  said that the situation would change for better after few months.

The chamber said it has surveyed over 300 CEOs of companies mainly operating in manufacturing and services sectors.

The study said the first signal of improvement would be seen immediately after completion of the monsoon. The Meteorological Department has predicted a normal monsoon which would significantly improve the prospects of agriculture.

"The share of agriculture in the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is less than 20 per cent, but there is a multiplier effect as about 65-70 per cent of India's population is still dependent on the agrarian economy," Assocham President Rajkumar Dhoot said.

The respondents also believe that export volumes would improve as exporters are scouting for new markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

"These three regions are not impacted heavily by global slowdown and the persistent demand is still there," Dhoot observed.

However, the study said that the government must step in to give a booster dose to exporters. The dollar appreciation would also help exporters.

Further, the survey revealed that companies seem to be engaging in fairly good level of utilisation of their installed capacities, with almost 60 per cent of the respondents employing between 70 and 100 per cent of their production line-up.

As many as 39 per cent of respondents said that their current order books position has started improving, it said.

About 53.7 per cent of surveyed CEOs said they expect their order books and sales volume to be in a much better position in six months from now.

"Taking this as an indicator, we can say that industry is expecting a turnaround in demand in the coming six months," Dhoot said.

The study stated that there are few concerns which are bothering the corporate sector.

"Although majority of respondents feel that their sales volume will increase, the rising cost of raw-material and high interest rates would continue to dent their margins," it said.

More than 80 percent of respondents feel that high cost of credit, rising raw-material prices as well as labour costs are bound to increase in the next six months, the survey said.

On March 17, after a gap of three years, the RBI slashed short-term lending rate by 0.50 per cent to 8 per cent. The cut was prompted by deceleration in growth and softening of inflation.

Between March 2010 and October 2011, Reserve Bank had raised lending rates 13 times to contain inflation that had been hovering near double-digit.

Hit by global woes and domestic problems, India's economic growth rate slowed to a nine-year low, both in the March quarter at 5.3 per cent as well as in 2011-12 at 6.5 percent.

However, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget speech had pegged the GDP growth in 2012-13 at 7.6 percent (plus, minus 0.25 per cent).


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