oppn parties The Economy Is Tottering

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
oppn parties
The Economy Is Tottering

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2020-06-01 13:28:27

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

The GDP figures for the fourth quarter of the current financial year released by the NSO paint a grim picture. Keeping in line with the situation on the ground, the revised data of the first three quarters of this financial year shows that the economic slowdown, even before the coronavirus crisis, was more pronounced than was previously estimated. When the data for the first three quarters was released at the designated time in 2019 and early 2020, it was not in tune with the situation on the ground. Most sectors of the economy were suffering from a lack of demand and inventory was piling up. Even the revised data for those quarters released now do not show the correct picture. Hence, the economy had slowed down considerably even before the coronavirus crisis hit it.

The data released now cannot also be relied upon in full because the timeline for submitting financial returns has been extended due to the pandemic. Hence, the current data has been released with limited inputs and is subject to downward revision once the full set of inputs is available. Yet, the data clearly shows that the economy is heading downhill at a rapid speed. The eight core industries contracted by 38 percent. Private consumption slumped to just 2.7 percent from 6.6 percent in the Oct-Dec quarter. Imports (leaving out oil and gold) went down by 52 percent while exports declined by 60 percent. Credit off-take is not happening as both businesses and individuals are wary of borrowing in these difficult times.

Growth in gross value added was just 3 percent but if agriculture, public administration and defence are left out, the rest of the economy provided just a depressing 1 percent growth to the GVA. Manufacturing has now contracted for three straight quarters, and the pace of contraction has become deeper in each successive quarter. Similarly, the construction sector has contracted for two straight quarters. Trade, hotels and communication, finance, real estate and professional services have all slowed down considerably. The power sector has shown some improvement (it contracted by 22.8 percent in April when the country was under full lockdown but improved to a contraction of 14.9 percent when restrictions were eased in May). But only the full data of the April-June quarter will show the true impact of the lockdown. It is now clear that the full years' data for the financial year 2019-20 will show considerably lower growth that was previously expected. It remains to be seen whether the economic package pushes up demand and revives the economy.