This Article is From Apr 23, 2020

Growth Below 1% Or Recession? India Stares At COVID-19 Impact On Economy

The latest projections highlight a gloomy situation for the county's economy on account of the coronavirus (COVID-19)-triggered lockdown.

Even before the lockdown, the economy stared at its worst pace of expansion in more than 11 years

As India remains in a 40-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, economists and industry experts are estimating sub-1 per cent expansion rates or even contraction for the country's GDP or gross domestic product. The latest projections highlight a gloomy situation for the county's economy on account of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, which continues to disrupt businesses worldwide. But even before the country began the COVID-19 lockdown, the economy stared at its worst pace of expansion since the 2008-09 global financial crisis.

Here are 10 things to know about the latest growth forecast for India:

  1. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has said the country's GDP could even shrink 0.9 per cent in case the outbreak extends and spreads further, "leading to prolonged restrictions in existing hotspots and identification of new hotspots". 

  2. In its report, titled "A Plan For Economic Recovery", the industry body pegged economic expansion rates between a negative 0.9 per cent (contraction) and 1.5 per cent based on three scenarios: "optimistic" (1.5 per cent growth), "base" and "downside risk" (0.9 per cent contraction).

  3. "Given the extent of damage to the economy from disruption to business, the GDP growth in FY21 is likely to be the lowest in many decades," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.

  4. The CII has called for a "sharp but temporary stimulus", which can be withdrawn once the economy is back on track. "Without such a step, the budget will continue to bleed for several years, as the revenue shortfall continues."

  5. Credit ratings major Fitch on Thursday brought down its growth forecast for the country to 0.8 per cent in the fiscal year ending March 2021 from a projection of 2 per cent mere three weeks ago, sharply lower compared to an estimated 4.9 per cent growth in the previous year. The agency, however, does expect growth to rebound to 6.7 per cent in 2021-22.

  6. Fitch predicted two consecutive quarters of contraction - or negative year-on-year expansion - in current fiscal year: (-)0.2 per cent in April-June and (-)0.1 per cent in July-September. That is in stark contrast to a growth estimate for January-March. By definition, two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth are known as recession. 

  7. "World GDP is now expected to fall by 3.9 per cent in 2020, a recession of unprecedented depth in the post-war period," said Brian Coulton, Chief Economist at Fitch Ratings.

  8. The projections - aimed at estimating the severity of the economic fallout from the deadly COVID-19 disease and the resultant lockdowns - are in sharp contrast to the available projections just before March, highlighting the alarming magnitude of the outbreak.

  9. Many economists believe the measures announced by the government and the RBI fall short of the support needed to aid the country's fight against the pandemic. The government has so far announced a spending package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore, whereas the central bank has cut key interest rates, and brought in targeted long-term repo operations to ease liquidity in the system.

  10. Meanwhile, the country's economy is likely to suffer its worst quarter since the mid-1990s, hit by the ongoing lockdown, according to a poll by news agency Reuters. Official data for the fourth quarter of 2019-20, which ended on March 31, 2020, will be released by the end of May.