Six indicators – pollution levels, traffic, power, railway freight, Google and internet download speeds were considered.
Some sections of the economy have shown recovery after the Centre eased restrictions through Unlock 1.0. India has been under lockdown since March 25 and the current phase – Lockdown 5.0 has been extended till June 30 – with plans to gradually ease more restrictions.
For one, railway freight traffic data showed an increase of 4.4 percent for goods transportation – even while earning are still down 8.2 percent, Business Standard reported.
The paper considered six indicators – pollution levels, traffic, power, railway freight, Google and internet download speeds – as a means of tracking economic activity post-lockdown as official macro-economic data is often released with a lag and on a quarterly or monthly basis, it said.
It used Google data (which is tracked anonymously), to determine that workplace visits have increased – down only 38.7 percent compared to pre-coronavirus levels, and much better than the 65.9 percent plunge in activity seen during the lockdown. Apart from offices, pharmacies and groceries also witnessed increased visits.
For downloads, data from internet tracker Ookla showed speeds were much lower when people work from home; video conferences have increased and online entertainment content has seen a boost in numbers. Average mobile download speeds are also emerging out of lockdown lows – slower by 2.9 percent compared to pre-COVID-19, but much better than the 3.4 percent slump during the lockdown.
Data for traffic from TomTom International also showed more vehicles on the road with New Delhi and Mumbai among the first to report congestion – though still below pre-COVID levels. The capital has shown slightly better recovery compared to the port city.Pollution in both cities saw a drop last week – recording lower emission of nitrogen dioxide from industries and vehicles; with power generations being the only spot of bad news. Power generation, which had seemed to be gaining steam has back-peddled by more than 20 percent, compared to the 10 percent slump seen last week.