Indian economy contracts 23.9 pc in April-June quarter due to COVID-19 impact

Agriculture was the only outlier as all other sectors, including manufacturing, construction and services, suffered steep declines.
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India's GDP shrank by the steepest margin ever — 23.9 percent in the April-June period — as the coronavirus-induced lockdowns battered an already slowing economy, official data showed on Monday.

Agriculture was the only outlier as all other sectors, including manufacturing, construction and services, suffered steep declines.

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India's economy had grown by 5.2 percent in the same quarter of the last fiscal, as per the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

The government had imposed a nationwide lockdown from March 25, 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections which adversely impacted all sectors of the economy.

According to the data, gross value added (GVA) growth in the manufacturing sector contracted by 39.3 percent in the first quarter of 2020-21, from a three percent expansion a year ago.

However, farm sector GVA grew at 3.4 percent, compared to 3 percent in the corresponding period of 2019-20.

Construction sector GVA contracted by a whopping 50.3 percent from 5.2 percent expansion the year earlier. Mining sector output declined by 23.3 percent against a growth of 4.7 percent a year ago.

Electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services segment too shrank by 7 percent in the first quarter of 2020-21, against 8.8 percent growth a year ago.

Similarly, trade, hotel, transport, communication, and services related to broadcasting declined 47 percent in the first quarter from 3.5 percent growth earlier.

Financial, real estate, and professional services fell by 5.3 percent in Q1 FY21 from 6 percent growth in same period last fiscal.

Public administration, defence and other services too saw a decline of 10.3 percent during the quarter under review, from 7.7 percent growth a year earlier.

"GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q1 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 26.90 lakh crore, as against Rs 35.35 lakh crore in Q1 of 2019-20, showing a contraction of 23.9 percent as compared to 5.2 percent growth in Q1 2019-20," the NSO said in a statement.

"With a view to contain spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions were imposed on the economic activities not deemed essential, as also on the movement of people from March 25, 2020," the statement read.

"Though the restrictions have been gradually lifted, there has been an impact on the economic activities as well as on the data collection mechanisms," it added.

It also said the timelines for filing statutory returns were extended by most regulatory bodies.

"In these circumstances, the usual data sources were substituted by alternatives like GST, interactions with professional bodies etc. and which were clearly limited," it said.

The Centre began easing the lockdown for certain economic activities from April 20 onwards.

Most rating agencies had projected contraction in India's GDP for the first quarter of 2020-21.

On the other hand, China's economy grew by 3.2 percent in April-June after recording a decline of 6.8 percent in January-March 2020.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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