India’s GDP growth expected to slow down to 4.8%: UN report

A UN report states that for the current fiscal, India’s GDP growth is expected to slow down to 4.8 percent. It warns that globally, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to result in significant adverse economic impacts.

The report is titled – ‘Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) 2020: Towards sustainable economies’. It states that for the region, COVID-19 has far-reaching economic and social consequences. It will have strong cross-border spillover effects through tourism, trade, and financial linkages.

A disclaimer accompanying the GDP chart for economies in the Asia and Pacific in the report states that the COVID-19 pandemic is still evolving rapidly. It shows no signs of abating as of March 31, 2020. Due to it, its negative impacts on the economic performance of countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific will likely be very significant.

For the fiscal year 2019-2020, India’s GDP growth was estimated at 5 percent. For the current fiscal 2020-21, it is forecast to slow down to 4.8 percent. The report states that for the fiscal year 2021-22, economic growth for the country could be at 5.1 percent. However, the report notes that these are very preliminary forecasts. These are based on the data and information available up to March 10.

The Economic Survey had projected a GDP growth of 6-6.5 percent, up from 5 percent estimate for 2019-20. Economic Survey was released a day before Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget for 2020-21 on February 1.

The report also states that the first case for COVID-19 was reported in China. It subsequently spread globally. It has significantly increased the downside risks to the Asia and Pacific region’s near-term economic outlook.

It further adds that initially, only China’s economy was expected to be affected by the pandemic. It was particular for the first quarter of 2020. However, its worldwide spread, including in the Asia-Pacific region, can lead to significant adverse economic impacts.

The economic slowdown could worsen due to high economic integration regionally and internationally. It is likely to play through multiple channels, such as tourism, trade, and financial markets.

Preliminary estimates by ESCAP suggest that as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic through trade links alone, the Asia-Pacific region’s GDP could experience declines of 0.6-0.8 percent. It is valued at $132 billion to 172 billion.