Indian economy shrinks 24pc

Updated 01 Sep 2020

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A labourer sleeps on sacks as traffic moves past him in a wholesale market in the old quarters of Delhi, India. — Reuters/File
A labourer sleeps on sacks as traffic moves past him in a wholesale market in the old quarters of Delhi, India. — Reuters/File

MUMBAI: India’s economic growth suffered a historic 23.9 per cent decline between April and June, official figures showed on Monday, as manufacturing and productivity were battered by a strict coronavirus lockdown.

The contraction was the biggest since New Delhi started publishing quarterly statistics in 1996, and the latest figures came as the country’s coronavirus cases surged past 3.6 million.

The steep dip in Asia’s third-largest economy reflected the impact of a months-long nationwide shutdown that saw most industrial and manufacturing activity grind to a halt.

The virus restrictions dealt a severe blow to an economy already struggling with a protracted slowdown through 2019, hit by the twin shocks of shrinking consumer demand and rising unemployment levels. The decline was worse than expected, with a survey of economists by Bloomberg earlier predicting a contraction of 18pc.

On Monday the government warned the figures could be revised further since the pandemic had also affected the ability to collect accurate data on economic activity.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2020