India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) on Monday revised its FY21 economic growth forecast for the country further down to 1.9 per cent, lowest in the last 29 years, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. According to Ind-Ra, Indian economy had registered a GDP growth of 1.1 per cent in financial year 1991-92. In a note on Monday, Ind-Ra revised its economic growth estimate for the country from its forecast of 3.6 per cent published on March 30, 2020 to to 1.9 per cent.
Ind-Ra, noted that its growth projection is based on the assumption that the partial lockdown will continue till mid-May 2020. According to Ind-Ra, “GDP may come back to the fourth quarter of 2019-20 fiscal level only by the third quarter (October-December) of current 2020-21 fiscal anticipating resumption of normal economic activities during second quarter (July-September) of 2020-21 and festive demand during third quarter of current fiscal (October-December),” it said.
The rating agency, however added that if the lockdown continues beyond mid-May 2020, and a gradual recovery takes root only from June-end, GDP growth may slip further to negative 2.1 per cent, lowest in the last 41 years, and only the sixth instance of contraction since fiscal year 1957-58. According to Ind-Ra, Indias GDP in 1957-58 was negative 0.4 per cent, in 1965-66 it was negative 2.6 per cent, in 1966-67 it was negative 0.1 per cent, in 1972-73 it was negative 0.6 per cent, and in 1979-80 it was negative 5.2 per cent.
For 2020-21, Ind-Ra expects retail inflation at 3.6 per cent. The rating agency said on the fiscal front, the dip in tax/non tax revenue due to the lockdown/growth slowdown coupled with the need to provide fiscal stimulus will destabilise the fiscal arithmetic of both union and state governments. “Even without any significant fiscal stimulus Ind-Ra expects the fiscal deficit of the union government to escalate to 4.4 per cent per cent of GDP in 2020-21 fiscal (FY21 Budget Estimate: 3.5 per cent of GDP) and a stimulus package of Rs 4 trillion would push it to 6.0 per cent of GDP,” it said