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UN welcomes India's Covid-19 mega-stimulus package, slashes growth to 1.2%

UN has welcomed India's Covid-19 mega-stimulus package, calling the largest among developing countries

UN covid-19

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 May 2020 3:58 PM GMT

United Nations: The UN has welcomed India's Covid-19 mega-stimulus package, calling the largest among developing countries, even as it slashed its growth rate for this fiscal year to 1.2 per cent.

Development Research Branch chief Hamid Rashid said on Wednesday that the stimulus package "is a very welcome development in terms of ten per cent of GDP (gross domestic product), largest so far in developing countries."

"India has a domestic commercial market and large capacity to implement that large stimulus package," he said at a news conference to release the mid-year World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) update.

But he added that its impact would depend on how it is designed.

The package announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is valued at Rs 20 lakh crore or about $266 billion.

UN's Chief Economist Elliott Harris said, "The pace and strength of the recovery from the crisis not only hinges on the efficacy of public health measures in slowing the spread of the virus, but also on the ability of countries to protect jobs and incomes, particularly of the most vulnerable members of our societies."

The efficacy of the stimulus packages introduced by various countries would depend on their focus and if they would stimulate the purchasing power of the people.

The 1.2 per cent growth estimate for India for the current fiscal year is a drastic Covid-19-fuelled cut from the 6.6 per cent made in January by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, but it would still be the second-highest growth rate among major economies, trailing only China.

The update expects India's rate of GDP growth to increase to 5.5 per cent in the next fiscal year.

China is expected to grow by 1.7 per cent this year and increase to 7.6 per cent next year.

The world economy ravaged by Covid-19 is projected to shrink by 3.2 per cent this year, with the developed countries bearing the brunt with their economic growth shrinking by 5 per cent.

The update called it "the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s."

The UN update said, "The global economy is expected to lose nearly $8.5 trillion in output over the next two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wiping out nearly all gains of the previous four years."

"Nearly 90 per cent of the world economy has been under some form of lockdown, disrupting supply chains, depressing consumer demand and putting millions out of work," it said.

The UN projection for India for the current fiscal year is less than the 1.9 per cent made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month. (IANS)

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