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World Bank Cuts India’s Growth Rate Projection To 6 Per Cent

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WASHINGTON, Oct 13: India’s growth rate is projected to fall to 6 per cent, the World Bank said on Sunday. In 2018-19, it stood at 6.8 per cent, down from 7.2 per cent in the 2017-18 financial year.

However, the bank in its latest edition of the South Asia Economic Focus said the country was expected to gradually recover to 6.9 per cent in 2021 and 7.2 per cent in 2022 as it assumed that the monetary stance would remain accommodative, given benign price dynamics.

The significant slowdown in the first quarter of the fiscal year and high frequency indicators, thereafter, suggested that the output growth would not exceed 6 per cent for the full fiscal year, the bank said.

The report, which has been released ahead of the annual meeting of the World Bank with the International Monetary Fund, noted India’s economic growth decelerated for the second consecutive year.

While industrial output growth increased to 6.9 per cent due to a pick-up in manufacturing and construction activities, the growth in agriculture and the services sector moderated to 2.9 and 7.5 per cent, respectively.

In the first quarter of 2019-20, the economy experienced a significant and broad-based growth deceleration with a sharp decline in private consumption on the demand side and the weakening of growth in both industry and services on the supply side, the report said.

The World Bank report also noted that the current account deficit had widened to 2.1 per cent of the GDP in 2018-19 from 1.8 per cent a year before, mostly reflecting a deteriorating trade balance.

On the financing side, significant capital outflows in the first half of the current year were followed by a sharp reversal from October 2018 onwards and a build-up of international reserves to USD 411.9 billion at the end of the fiscal year.

Likewise, while the rupee initially lost ground against the USD (12.1 per cent depreciation between March and October 2018), it appreciated by about seven per cent up to March 2019, the report said.

“The general government deficit is estimated to have widened by 0.2 percentage points to 5.9 per cent of the GDP in 2018-19. This is despite the central government improving its balance by 0.2 percentage points over the previous year. The general government debt remained stable and sustainable – being largely domestic and long term-at around 67 per cent of GDP,” the report said.

The report said the consumption was likely to remain depressed due to slow growth in rural income, domestic demand (as reflected in a sharp drop in sales of automobiles) and credit from non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

However, the investment would benefit from the recent cut in effective corporate tax rate for domestic companies in the medium term, but also will continue to reflect financial sector weaknesses, the report said.

“Growth is expected to gradually recover to 6.9 per cent in 2020-21 and 7.2 per cent in 2021-22 as the cycle bottoms-out, rural demand benefits from effects of income support schemes, investment responds to tax incentives and credit growth resumes. However, exports growth is expected to remain modest, as trade wars and slow global growth depresses external demand,” the report said.

The report, however, said disruptions brought about by the introduction of the GST and demonetisation, combined with the stress in the rural economy and a high youth unemployment rate in urban areas may have heightened the risks for the poorest households.

India

Lockdown is not the goal: Harvard Prof Ashish Jha to Rahul

The Harvard Professor said that life will be very different when lockdown ends.

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Rahul Gandhi Ashish Jha

New Delhi, May 27 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in his series of talks on Covid-19 pandemic interacted with Professor Ashish Jha of Harvard University who said that “lockdown is not a goal” but a time to separate infected persons from non-infected ones, when you can’t test aggressively. He said the lockdown has psychological impact too on the people.

“Lockdown buys you time, but lockdown is not the goal unto itself. You can use that time to prepare a really fabulous testing, tracing, isolation infrastructure. You want to use that time to communicate with people,” said Jha.

The Harvard Professor says that vigorous testing, tracing and isolation is helpful, “but if you can’t do that, then you have to lock everything down. Can you slow down the virus from a lockdown? Of course you can. But it has very substantial economic repercussions,” he said.

While Ashish Jha said that the reason to do the lockdown is that you are trying to slowdown the spread of the virus, as the virus is a new one. The humanity had not seen this virus before. That means all of us are suspects. All of us are susceptible population. Left unchecked, the virus will grow exponentially, he said.

“And the way to stop it is to take infected people and separate them from un-infected ones,” advocated Jha.

The Harvard Professor said that life will be very different when lockdown ends.

“This is not about going back to what life was like last May or June. That life over the next 6-12-18 months is going to look very different. And its really is about planning all of that out. So it’s not just communication, but really thinking through, what will public transportation look like? Who will go back to work. What will schools do. There is a lot of work you want to be doing during the lockdown,” he said.

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Disaster

Corona cases cross 1.5L mark in India, with 42.44% recovery

The situation in Tamil Nadu was also worsening as total number of cases reported there hover at 17,728, followed by Gujarat with 14,821 cases and Delhi with 14,465 cases.

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Coronavirus Treatment

New Delhi, May 27 : Maintaining the plateau of over 6,000 cases, India on Wednesday crossed the psychological 1.5 lakh mark of total Covid-19 cases so far. However it also posted a strong recovery rate of 42.44 per cent as at least 3,935 people were also cured during the day.

A total of 6,387 new cases took the nationwide tally to 1,51,767, a Health Ministry data revealed on Wednesday. There were also 170 new deaths in the past 24 hours, 97 of them in Maharashtra where there were over four deaths each hour.

It took the country just four days to reach the over 1.5 lakh figure from 1,25,101 on May 23. With this, India continues to remain as the tenth worst hit country by the pandemic globally.

Of the total cases so far, 83,004 are active, while 64,425 people have been cured and 4,337 have died.

Maharashtra continues to have the lion’s share of the COVID-19 cases, with at least 54,758 which is 36.08 per cent of the total cases across the country. The state has reported 1,792 fatalities so far, as per the health ministry data.

The situation in Tamil Nadu was also worsening as total number of cases reported there hover at 17,728, followed by Gujarat with 14,821 cases and Delhi with 14,465 cases.

The rising number of cases in the country dosen’t seem to get any respite even with the rising temperature as some experts had opined. Globally the cases of COVID-19 topped at 5.6 million and over three lakh fatalities.

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Cities

Private lab in UP wrongly diagnoses 6 as corona patients

On May 21, eight samples were sent to this lab from Meerut and all were found positive for COVID-19.

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SARS antibody

Lucknow, May 27 : A private testing laboratory that gave a false report of six people testing corona positive in Meerut district, is likely to lose its licence.

Meerut District Magistrate Anil Dhingra has already recommended cancellation of the licence of the lab, which has its main office in Gurugram and has sample collection centres in Meerut by the name of Modern Lab and Diagnostic Centre.

Dhingra said, “There was a discrepancy in the lab reports of the Modern Lab for COVID-19 cases. The matter is being investigated and whosoever will be found guilty will not be spared, strict action will be taken against the responsible. A recommendation has been sent to the government for cancellation of the license of this lab. A detailed report has been asked from CMO as well.”

On May 21, eight samples were sent to this lab from Meerut and all were found positive for COVID-19.

However, during re-testing the samples of the same persons at the microbiology department of the Meerut Medical College on May 24, six out of the eight were found to be negative. Following this, those who tested negative were shifted to a different ward. Health officials have sought strict action against the private lab for wrongly indicating that six people from the city had tested positive.

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