India has lost its place as the fastest growing economy in the world and has grown slower than expected in the first three months of 2019.
Official data showed that the economy grew 5.8%, which is slower than the 6.4% growth registered by China, and after 6.6% in the previous quarter.
It is the first set of numbers since Narendra modi, a second election victory this month, was secured.
During his first term, India became the fastest-growing economy in the world.
But the latest figures, which show the slowest growth rate in 17 quarters, mean that India’s growth rate has fallen behind China for the first time in almost two years.
Economists had expected economic growth of 6.3 percent in the first quarter.
The figures will put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Modi and the central bank to stimulate the economy through tax measures.
Unlike China, domestic consumption has driven India’s economic growth over the last 15 years, and recent data show weaker consumer demand.
Investment growth also slowed down from 10.6% in the previous quarter to 3.6%.
Finance minister Subhash Chandra Garg said that the next quarter-the three months of April to June-could also be “relatively slower”.
But, it should start turnaround in the third quarter, he said.
The Reserve Bank of India is expected to lower interest rates next month.
The repeatedly delayed unemployment figures were also published on Friday and stood at 6.1% in the financial year 2017/18.
“It shows that the employment crisis is still there: not many new ones are being created,” said NR Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi.
There have been no detailed official data on unemployment for several years, and the chief statistician Pravin Srivastava told reporters: “it would be unfair to compare them with the past.”