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Indian economy may take till 2034-35 to overcome COVID-19 losses: RBI

Indian economy may take till 2034-35 to overcome COVID-19 losses: RBI

RBI report also added that following a sharp contraction in the first quarter of 2020-21, the economic momentum progressively picked up till it was hit by the second wave in April-June period of 2021-22.

The impact of the third COVID wave, concentrated in the month of January 2022, partially dented the recovery process, RBI said in a report. The impact of the third COVID wave, concentrated in the month of January 2022, partially dented the recovery process, RBI said in a report.

India is expected to overcome COVID-19 losses in 2034-35, while the output losses for individual years have been worked out to Rs 19.1 lakh crore, Rs 17.1 lakh crore and Rs16.4 lakh crore for 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23, respectively, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated in a recent report on an analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the economy.

The perturbations from repeated waves of COVID-19 have come in the way of sustained recovery and the quarterly trends in India's Gross Domestic Product essentially followed the ebbs and flows of the pandemic, said the chapter 'Scars of the Pandemic' in the Report on Currency and Finance (RCF) for the year 2021-22.

"Taking the actual growth rate of (-) 6.6 per cent for 2020-21, 8.9 per cent for 2021-22 and assuming growth rate of 7.2 per cent for 2022-23, and 7.5 per cent beyond that, India is expected to overcome COVID-19 losses in 2034-35,'' the report said.

Meanwhile, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das earlier today announced that after an unscheduled Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, it was decided to hike the benchmark lending rate by 40 basis points (bps) to 4.40 per cent and CRR (cash reserve ratio) by 50 basis points to 4.5 per cent to contain inflation that has remained stubbornly above the target of 6 per cent for the last three months. 

Das also said that confronted by elevated inflationary pressures that have shifted the future trajectory of inflation upwards, the MPC has announced the intention to engage in withdrawal of accommodation to ensure that inflation remains aligned to the target. Notably, the stance was adopted to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

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Coming back to the report, the central bank also added that following a sharp contraction in the first quarter of 2020-21, the economic momentum progressively picked up till it was hit by the second wave in April-June period of 2021-22.

Similarly, the impact of the third wave, concentrated in the month of January 2022, partially dented the recovery process.

With the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the downward risks to global and domestic growth are getting accentuated through surge in commodity prices and global supply chain disruptions, it noted.

''The pandemic is a watershed moment and the ongoing structural changes catalysed by the pandemic can potentially alter the growth trajectory in the medium-term,'' the report said.

The report has been authored by officials in the RBI's Department of Economic and Policy Research (DEPR). The RBI, however, said the findings and conclusions expressed in the report are entirely those of the contributors and do not represent the views of the central bank.

The dividends of reforms initiated to counter the pre-COVID slowdown along with additional measures and initiatives during the pandemic will help launch the economy on a sustainable high growth path, it said.

As per the report, the behavioural and technological changes brought about by the pandemic may usher in a new normal which would not necessarily ape the pre-pandemic trends but would be built on a more efficient, equitable, clean and green foundations.