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While the International Monetary Fund’s projection that Bangladesh is set to surpass India in nominal per capital GDP terms in 2020 has created a political slugfest, deeper analysis of the IMF data suggest the event is unlikely to be a blip for one year.

In 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic hitting India harder than Bangladesh, India’s nominal per capital GDP is set to decline from $2100 in 2019 to $1880 in 2020. During the same period, however, nominal per capita GDP of Bangladesh is projected to rise from $1820 in 2019 to $1890 in 2020, marginally higher than that of India. However, IMF projected that India will again surpass Bangladesh in 2021 as its economy bounces back from the pandemic. For 2021, IMF’s projections for India and Bangladesh are $2030 and $1990, respectively.

However, the good news is unlikely to last long for India, with Bangladesh projected to match India’s nominal per capita GDP in 2024 at $2540. In 2025, Bangladesh is forecast to surpass India again with nominal per capita GDP at $2760 against $2730 for India.

After Business Standard first reported that Bangladesh will surpass India’s nominal per capita GDP in 2020 for one year, a political slugfest broke out. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Solid achievement of 6 years of BJP’s hate-filled cultural nationalism: Bangladesh set to overtake India."

However, government clarified that per capital GDP of India is way ahead of Bangladesh when compared in purchase power parity terms. “In 2019, India’s GDP in purchasing parity terms (PPP) was 11 times more that of Bangladesh while population was 8 times more. In purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, India’s per capita GDP in 2020 is estimated by IMF at $6284 as compared to $5139 for Bangladesh," it added.

Government further clarified that on the topic of per capita GDP, it is also important to note that under prime minister Narendra Modi, it has increased from 83,091 in 2014-15 to 1,08,620 in 2019-20 which is an increase of 30.7%. “Under UPA 2, it had increased from 65,394 in 2009-10 to 78,348 in 2013-14 which is an increase of 19.8%," it added.

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