‘No growth projections yet for FY21 given uncertainty’

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on April 29, 2021

Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog   -  PTI

If India vaccinates 50% population, economic activity will bounce back, says Rajiv Kumar

Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog on Thursday said that it has not yet made any growth projections for the current fiscal as there is still a lot of uncertainty about the course of the pandemic.

However, he added that if India can achieve 50 per cent vaccination by the end of 2021, then economic activity is bound to bounce back – aided by the various economic reforms undertaken over the past eight months.

“The economic response will vary depending on the course of the pandemic which we cannot foresee at present,” Kumar said at a virtual webinar organised by the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry here on Thursday.

Growth forecast

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently, retained the GDP growth forecast at 10.5 per for the current fiscal.

The ADB (Asian Development Bank) has also projected that the Indian economy is expected to grow at 11 per cent in the current financial year amid the “strong” vaccine drive. It however, cautioned that the recent surge in Covid-19 cases may put the country’s economic recovery at “risk”.

According to Kumar, the growth during the April-June quarter of this fiscal is likely to be in the range of 12-14 per cent, but that is on a lower base of last year. However, sustained growth would come if we can ensure vaccinations at a steady pace.

“We do not know how long this pandemic will last but we have to focus on vaccinations as it will be the basis for a sustained recovery. Once that happens... we should have a foundation for 8 per cent growth,” he said.

India’s vaccination capacities are being ramped up and supply shortages are being addressed. Though there are some bottlenecks at the momentthose are being sorted out, he added.

‘Investments, exports’

It is important for the country to hike up the rate of investment and also increase the share of exports, he said. India should also focus on increasing the share of manufacturing to GDP and also try to achieve global scale and competitiveness in manufacturing.

Talking about the need to modernise agriculture sector, he said, there was a need to bring down cost in agriculture, increase productivity and yield and reduce water consumption. “This can be achieved by focusing on organic and natural farming. There is also a need to create trust between private sector and government and to achieve this, the private sector should start the process of self regulation,” he added.

Published on April 29, 2021

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