Covid impact: World Bank says might venture steeper progress contraction for India

New Delhi, August 19

The World Bank on Wednesday indicated that it could additional decrease its progress projections for India and mentioned essential reforms in key areas akin to well being, labour, land, abilities and finance are wanted to come back out stronger from the COVID-19 disaster.

The World Bank had in May projected that the Indian economic system will contract by 3.2 per cent in FY 2020-21 (April 2020 to March 2021) and rebound slowly within the subsequent monetary 12 months.

“Further challenges have emerged in latest weeks that are prone to weigh on the prospects within the close to time period. These dangers embody the virus persevering with to unfold; additional deterioration within the international outlook; and extra strains projected on the monetary sector.

“Keeping these factors in mind, a steeper contraction may be projected in the revised outlook that will be available in October 2020,” it mentioned in its India Development Update launched on Wednesday.

It projected India’s fiscal deficit to rise to six.6 per cent of GDP in FY21 and stay elevated at 5.5 per cent within the following 12 months.

“The pandemic has afflicted India at a time when its economy had already been decelerating,” the World Bank mentioned.

Defying a long-term accelerating path, actual GDP progress moderated from per cent in 2017-18 to six.1 per cent in 2018-19 and 4.2 per cent in 2019-20.

“The pre-COVID-19 growth deceleration was perceived to be due to long-standing structural rigidities in key input markets; continuing balance sheet stress in the banking and corporate sector, which was compounded more recently by stress in the non-banking segment of the financial sector; increased risk aversion among banks and corporates; a decline in rural demand; and a subdued global economy,” it mentioned.

While India took a number of coverage actions, together with a discount within the company tax fee, regulatory forbearances for small enterprise, discount in private revenue tax charges and enterprise regulatory reforms, the pandemic minimize quick any hope that these actions would yield the anticipated payoffs.

“The outlook has now changed substantially, and the economy will likely contract in the current fiscal year,” it mentioned.

The financial impression of the pandemic can be felt in a direct decline in home demand and provide disruptions triggered by the containment measures, leading to close to collapse in sure service actions akin to commerce, transport, tourism and journey.

Also, there can be a second spherical of consumption and funding slowdown, compounded by (and finally driving) misery within the monetary sector and monetary markets, it mentioned.

“India needs to continue to implement critical reforms in key areas such as health, labour, land, skills and finance to come out stronger from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These reforms should aim at enhancing the productivity of the Indian economy and spur private investments and exports,” the World Bank report mentioned.

Besides the speedy aid and restoration measures, the federal government has introduced vital reform measures for agriculture, schooling, public sector, and micro, small and medium enterprises. The report says furthering such reforms will assist put the economic system again on a 7 per cent progress path.

The India Development Update is a biannual flagship publication of the World Bank that takes inventory of the Indian economic system.

“While the Government of India, with the support of the Reserve Bank, is continuing to take action to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a recognition of both the uncertainty of the nature of the economic revival globally and the emergence of opportunities opened by the current crisis,” mentioned Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India.

“Countries that invest in sectoral reforms—infrastructure, labour and land, human capital—and ensure that their national systems are connected to the Global Value Chains, are more able to respond to uncertainties and are better placed to take advantage of any global shifts. Investing in these areas will give India the ability to navigate these uncertainties and be more competitive as the world emerges from the pandemic,” he mentioned.

To strengthen fiscal reforms, the report prompt reassessing subsidies to leverage any scope for effectivity positive factors, producing non-tax revenues extra aggressively and linking the reimbursement of latest borrowings to disinvestment receipts.

To put the monetary sector on a sounder footing, the report identifies particular areas of reform, together with within the non-banking finance firm (NBFC) sector, deeper capital market reforms, mainstreaming fintech to achieve companies sooner and at a decrease price, and shifting to a extra strategic public sector footprint.

“The recent liquidity and performance issues in the financial sector, exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, present policymakers with a strong reason – and an opportunity – to accelerate efforts towards building a more efficient, stable, and market-oriented financial system,” mentioned the report’s co-authors Poonam Gupta, Lead Economist, World Bank and Dhruv Sharma, Senior Economist, World Bank.

The present disaster has additionally delivered to the forefront new financial alternatives within the areas of digital know-how, retail, health-technology and education-technology companies; and international demand in areas akin to prescribed drugs, medical gear, and protecting gear. These alternatives can present new progress levers for India, the report provides. — PTI

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