Political battle lines were drawn after International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its World Economic Outlook for October, projected that India is going to fall behind Bangladesh in terms of per capita GDP in 2020. While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the prospective economic low, the government retorted with parameters where India still outdoes its neighbour.
Following the IMF report, Gandhi tweeted: "Solid achievement of 6 years of BJP's hate-filled cultural nationalism: Bangladesh set to overtake India." The tweet was accompanied by a graph depicting per capita GDP levels of Bangladesh, India and Nepal from 1981 to 2020 (projected).
In response to the remark from the opposition leader, government said that in 2019, India's GDP in purchasing parity terms (PPP) was 11 times more that of Bangladesh while population was 8 times more. In purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, India's per capita GDP in 2020 is estimated by IMF at $6,284 as compared to $5,139 for Bangladesh, government sources said.
They also referred to IMF's estimate that India's GDP is likely to make a remarkable recovery, growing at 8.8 per cent in 2021, after a 10.3 per cent contraction in 2020. This is twice that of Bangladesh at 4.4 per cent, the government sources added.
On the topic of per capita GDP, the government drew attention to the fact that the economic indicator increased from Rs 83,091 in 2014-15 to Rs 1,08,620 in 2019-20, marking an increase of 30.7 per cent. Under UPA-II, it had increased from Rs 65,394 in 2009-10 to Rs 78,348 in 2013-14, rising 19.8 per cent, government sources remarked.
In its latest World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday, IMF revised India's growth projections downwards to (-)10.3 per cent, substantially lower than 4.5 per cent de-growth it had predicted back in June. The prediction came on back of rise of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country, a trend consistent across the rest of the world. IMF predicted that all economies except China will see their economies contract during 2020 on account of spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The 10.3 per cent contraction in Indian economy will make it the third-poorest country in South Asia in terms of per capita GDP; only Pakistan and Nepal will post worse economic performance. As per IMF's estimates, Bangladesh is expected to post a 4 per cent increase in per capita GDP during 2020 at $1,888. Meanwhile, India's per capita GDP is expected to slump 10.5 per cent to its lowest level in four years at $1,877. Both figures have been calculated at current prices.