India’s economy to contract by 3.2% in 2020-21: World Bank

Chennai: The World Bank has said India’s economy will shrink by 3.2 per cent in the current fiscal.

It said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the multi-phased lockdown imposed to curb its spread has resulted in a devastating blow to the Indian economy.

In its latest edition of the Global Economic Prospect, the World Bank downgraded its projection of India by a massive negative nine per cent.

However, the Indian economy is expected to bounce back in 2021, the World Bank said.

The bank said in the Global Economic Prospect report: “In India, growth is estimated to have slowed to 4.2 per cent in the fiscal year 2019/20 (the year ending in March-2020) and output is projected to contract by 3.2 per cent in fiscal year 2020/21, when the impact of COVID-19 will largely materialise. Stringent measures to restrict the spread of the virus, which heavily curtail short-term activity, will contribute to the contraction.”

The World Bank said spillovers from the weaker global growth and balance sheet stress in the financial sector will also weigh on activity, despite some support from the fiscal stimulus and continued monetary policy easing.

As per the report, the central bank has been purchasing government bonds to further ease the financial conditions. The Indian government has also increased its spending on healthcare to bolster the COVID-19 response, wage support, in-kind and cash transfers to lower-income households, deferral of tax payments, as well as loan and liquidity support for small businesses and financial institutions.

The growth rate of the Indian economy in fiscal 2017 was seven per cent, which dropped to 6.1 per cent in fiscal 2018 and to 4.2 per cent in fiscal 2020, it added.

Growth in the region is projected to register a contraction of -2.7 per cent in 2020 and is marked by high uncertainty, the report said. Across the region, the pandemic mitigation measures will severely hinder consumption and services activity, while high uncertainty about the pandemic will constrain private investment.

The sheer depth of global contractionary activity in the current environment will also weigh substantially on South Asian regional activity, despite relatively more modest trade linkages with the advanced economies than other EMDE (Emerging Market and Developing Economies) regions.

Despite the relatively low number of reported cases per capita, COVID-19 infections are still rising in several economies in the region. As a result, the outlook is highly uncertain and subject to large downside risks, the bank said.

 

NT Bureau