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E-way bill generation picks up in mid-Jan

Since last May, goods shipment within the country has improved steadily, recovering from the regional mobility curbs that were put in place to combat the second wave of the pandemic. (Photo: HT)Premium
Since last May, goods shipment within the country has improved steadily, recovering from the regional mobility curbs that were put in place to combat the second wave of the pandemic. (Photo: HT)

  • Uncertainty due to the pandemic lingers, which has led to many economists being sceptical about the robustness of economic recovery. The Centre has forecast a 9.2% GDP growth for FY22 but said household expenditure, the biggest growth driver, is unlikely to top pre-pandemic levels this year

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NEW DELHI : Electronic permits required to transport goods within and across states rose over the last two weeks, but not enough to push up daily average so far this month when compared to levels seen in December, as per official data.

After an initial moderation to two million permits a day on an average up to 9 December, e-way bill generation ticked higher to 2.16 million a day on an average as per data up to 23 January available from GSTN, the company that processes tax returns. Since last May, goods shipment within the country has improved steadily, recovering from the regional mobility curbs that were put in place to combat the second wave of the pandemic. The impact of the current wave of the pandemic on supply chains has been limited as both state administrations and businesses were prepared to deal with challenges seen in the previous two occasions. Around 40% of goods shipments above 50,000 is inter-state.

The limited downside to consumption during the current wave of the pandemic as indicated by e-way bills and GST, tax on consumption, would offer comfort to policy makers. Besides a recovery in economic activities after the first quarter of fiscal, what has aided buoyant tax collections is enforcement activities undertaken by central and state agencies.

Last month, the Reserve Bank of India, in its state of the economy report citing a survey, had said that consumer confidence was gradually returning and the overall outlook remained optimistic on general economic situation. For the year ahead, consumers are buoyed by sentiments on income and employment, the report had said. The central bank had also pointed to better looking mobility indicators, hiring activity in the market led primarily by telecom and internet services, and construction sector activity backed by a spurt in cement production and demand for residential units.

However, the uncertainty due to the pandemic lingers, which has prompted many economists of being sceptical about the robustness of economic recovery. The government had earlier this month forecast a 9.2% growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) this fiscal in its first advance estimate. It had also indicated that household expenditure, the biggest driver of growth, is unlikely to surpass pre-pandemic levels this year. Private final consumption expenditure projected at 8 trillion this fiscal, will cross the level seen in FY21 of 7.5 trillion but not scale the 8.3 trillion seen in FY20. 

“Those suffering income loss are clearly consuming less and those who used up their savings are prioritising rebuilding buffers," said an analysis from rating agency CRISIL shared on Tuesday. Job losses and lower earnings over recurrent waves and medical expenditure during the pandemic have taken a toll on household savings, the report said.

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