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Don’t pop the bubbly

Photo: APPremium
Photo: AP

Those lower down the country’s income pyramid have borne the brunt of the covid crisis so far, and they remain vulnerable. Rapid growth must help everyone lead better lives. Else, it’s just another number

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) biannual World Economic Outlook offers us no big cause for cheer. It expects India’s economy to grow 12.5% in 2021-22, better than its previous 11.5% forecast, thanks to stronger-than-expected signs of a recovery. But these signs might have been overtaken by a recent covid resurgence, sadly.

In any case, double-digit growth this year would just be a statistical mirage created by our shrunken economic base of 2020-21. Our national output would still be just a shade higher than what we achieved in 2019-20. The real challenge would be to regain the economy’s year-upon-year growth momentum before it began slowing down about four years ago. But first, attaining even what the IMF has projected this fiscal year won’t be easy, given the uncertainty wrought by our second wave of covid infections. Also, the headline figure of growth doesn’t capture the pandemic’s varying impact on different strata of people. Those lower down the country’s income pyramid have borne the brunt of the covid crisis so far, and they remain vulnerable. Rapid growth must help everyone lead better lives. Else, it’s just another number.

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