The Economic Survey-2021, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday (January 29), projected a strong economic growth of 11 per cent for financial year 2021-22.
The robust projection is backed by the successful beginning of a nationwide COVID vaccination drive and increasing domestic consumption. However, for the current financial year, the Indian economy will contract 7.7 per cent — the worst the country has seen in the last 40 years, the report says.
The government is optimistic about a rebound (the best since liberalisation of 1991) though as it anticipates an 11 per cent growth next fiscal with the COVID-19 vaccination progressing steadily.
The Economic Survey report is critical as it provides an insight into how the Indian economy has performed in the last 12 months. The suggestions of this report will serve as a roadmap for finance minister’s budget speech to be delivered on February 1.
The report paints a positive picture showing a “V-shaped” economic recovery after COVID-induced lockdown, but it also warns optimists that the country will require at least two years to return to pre-pandemic gross domestic levels.
“With the economy’s returning to normalcy brought closer by the initiation of a mega vaccination drive, hopes of a robust recovery in services sector, consumption, and investment have been rekindled,” said the survey.
The Economic Survey may have painted a rosy picture of a strong recovery in the years to come, but Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has her task cut out as she readies to take tough decisions to keep government’s rising debts under check while laying out big spending plans.
The national vaccination drive started on January 16, with health workers, frontline workers, people above 50 and those with comorbidities getting the first priority. The two vaccines — Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — have been approved and are being administered without any major untoward side-effects or adverse reactions reported so far.
The COVID pandemic has claimed more than 1.5 lakh lives and infected over 1.07 crore people in India till date.