As India’s Covid-19 case count crosses five-million and its daily new positive cases came close to a lakh on September 11, the virus is deepening its impact on the daily lives of people and on the economy. India’s cumulative caseload has now become the world’s second-largest. At the same time, many feel that there is no choice but to prioritise reopening the economy and accept the risk of surging infections.
The economy remains in an unprecedented crisis. NCAER’s Quarterly Review of the Economy (QRE) in May 2020, and again in a June QRE Update, had suggested a base case GDP contraction of 26% for Q1:2020-21, as it turns out, close to the official estimate released last month of a 24% GDP decline during the first quarter.
Where will the Indian economy go from here? How will it perform during the rest of this financial year, over the next year, and then over the medium and long term? These difficult questions run alongside deep concerns about how macroeconomic policy–both its fiscal and monetary components–will find its way between the conflicting policy goals of stimulating an economic recovery and containing inflation, which, except for March 2020, has remained above RBI’s target rate of 6% since December 2019.
On Friday, September 25, the NCAER macroeconomic team addressed these difficult questions in presenting NCAER’s Quarterly Review of the Economy for Q2:2020-21. The QRE’s principal authors, NCAER Distinguished Fellow Sudipto Mundle, Senior Fellow Bornali Bhandari, and Assistant Professor, NIPFP, Rudrani Bhattacharya, presented their findings and were in conversation with the distinguished QRE guests, Ashima Goyal and Pranjul Bhandari. Dr Ashima Goyal is a part-time member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and Professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research. Ms Pranjul Bhandari is the Chief India Economist at HSBC Securities & Capital Markets (India) Private Limited. The discussion was moderated by NCAER Director General, Shekhar Shah. The webinar was attended by over 100 participants.
The Review and presentation is available on this webpage.