Rajiv Kumar said we will be lucky if we get a zero-growth rate but the GDP growth could be even in negative. The overall growth rate for the financial year however will not go below 3-3.5 per cent, he said.
Niti Aayog Vice-Chairperson Rajiv Kumar (Photo: Reuters)
- Rajiv Kumar said it’s difficult to say what exactly will happen after the 21-day lockdown
- He said Niti Aayog hopes the number of daily new cases reduces soon
- India’s GDP will be badly hit in the first quarter because of coronavirus outbreak, he said
India’s GDP is bound to take a hit in the first quarter of the financial year 2020-21 because of the 21-day lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak in India, said Niti Aayog Vice-Chairperson Rajiv Kumar on Thursday. He said the lockdown is necessary to contain the viral infection even though the economy is likely to suffer in the first quarter. “The prime minister made it very clear that a lockdown is our only option.”
Asked about what he thinks will be the shape of the Indian economy once the 21-day lockdown ends, Rajiv Kumar said it is difficult to say because there is uncertainty about the health emergency.
“At present, the Niti Aayog has no idea of how this pandemic may spell out in the country. We are hopeful that the number of new cases will fall and things will return towards normalcy,” Rajiv Kumar said in an exclusive interview to India Today TV.
“I am hopeful that three weeks would be enough for the Indian economy to bounce back,” he said.
Speaking about the impact that the 21-day nationwide lockdown and the resultant economic disruption, Rajiv Kumar said the overall GDP growth for financial year 2020-21 may not be very bad but the first quarter will be severely hit.
“In the next quarter, we will be lucky if we get a zero-growth rate. But it (GDP growth) could be even in negative. The overall growth rate for the financial year however will not go below 3-3.5 per cent. It’s too early to say anything because there are many factors that remain unknown,” Rajiv Kumar said.
Earlier in the day, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package for the poor and daily wagers to help them mitigate the health emergency and the nationwide lockdown. The package also seeks to help low wage earners who are vulnerable to become jobless in the current scenario. To protect their interest, the government has announced that it will pay 24 per cent of their monthly wages into their Provident Fund accounts for the next three months.
Speaking about the relief package, Rajiv Kumar said he believes others in the economy will also be helped and another economic stimulus package is in the making and may be announced soon.
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