India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate contracted by 23.9% for the April to June quarter as the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the country’s economy, government data released on Monday said.

This is the first instance of an economic contraction for the country in at least four decades, and also the first GDP decline since India began publishing growth data on a quarterly basis in 1996.

 

The GDP had grown by just 3.1% in the last quarter of 2019-’20, right as the lockdown was imposed

In gross value added terms, the economy contracted by 22.8%, showed the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Despite the government’s plans to strategically ease restrictions of the lockdown, which was first enforced in March, many experts had predicted that it would register negative growth. India had imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25. The lockdown was slowly eased, and by June 1, most non-essential services had been allowed to operate in non-containment zones in the country, subject to policies made by states.

In June, the International Monetary Fund had said that India’s GDP will decline by 4.5% in the 2020-’21 financial year. But it said the Indian economy will bounce back to grow at 6% in 2021-’22.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg said that India might experience a 18% drop in its GDP growth rate in the first quarter of 2020-’21.

The Opposition Congress has regularly targeted the Narendra Modi-led government over the economic crisis. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had earlier this month attacked Modi about GDP projections.

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