As India reported a 7.3 per cent contraction in its GDP for FY21, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) K.V. Subramanian has said that the overall impact of the second wave of Covid-19 is unlikely to be significant, although there is uncertainty over possible double-digit growth in the current financial year.
Addressing the media after the release of the GDP numbers, the CEA also said that giving any actual numbers for economic forecast would not be prudent as the pandemic is evolving and the economic trajectory of the country totally depends on the severity of the pandemic.
"Whether or not that will be double digit or single digit there is uncertainty because scientists are also talking of a possibility of a third wave."
"Economic activity is inexplicably linked to the path of the pandemic," Subramanian said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
He noted that "the speed and the scale of the second wave does lend caution" towards the economic recovery.
The CEA was of the view that with the country still battling with the pandemic continued monetary and fiscal policy support will be import going ahead.
India's GDP growth rate plunged (-) 7.3 per cent in 2020-21. Though not comparable, the GDP had grown by 4 per cent in 2019-20.
The pandemic-triggered national lockdown (from late March 2020) during Q1FY21 had a massive impact on the economy, which suffered a GDP contraction of 24.4 per cent. It was only on June 1, 2020, that the partial unlock measures were implemented.
The data furnished by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed real GDP or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant (2011-12) prices in year 2020-21 attained a level of Rs 135.13 lakh crore, as against the 'First Revised Estimate' of GDP for the year 2019-20 of Rs 145.69 lakh crore.On the other hand, in terms of sequential basis, India's economy grew during the fourth quarter, which ended on March 31, 2021, by 1.6 per cent.