The International Monetary Fund predicted on Tuesday that the Indian economy would contract by 10.3% in 2020-’21, owing to the lockdowns imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. India’s Gross Domestic Product contracted by a whopping 23.9% in the first quarter of 2020-’21.

Among major economies, only China is expected to show positive growth, with its GDP rising by 1.9% this financial year, the IMF said.

In its World Economic Outlook report on Tuesday, the IMF forecast that India would grow at 8.8% in 2021-’22, faster than China, which is projected to grow at 8.2%. The global growth rate for 2020-’21 would be a negative 4.4%, and for 2021-’22 it would be a positive 5.2%, it added. However, negative growth this financial year indicates a “deep recession” in the global economy, the IMF said.

The United States economy is projected to contract by 5.8% in 2020-’21 and expand by 3.9% the next year. On the other hand, economies of developing countries would diminish by 5.7% in this financial year and recover by 5% in 2021-’22.

IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said that the Covid-19 crisis has been a challenge “like no other”. However, she said the world was adapting as a result of eased lockdowns and rapid policy support on an unprecedented scale by central banks and governments. The global economy is now in a phase of recovery from its collapse earlier in the year, Gopinath said.

But employment levels remain well below pre-pandemic levels and the labour market has become more polarised with low-income workers, youth, and women being the most affected, Gopinath said. The IMF chief economist said the poor were getting poorer with close to 9 crore people expected to become indigent this year. She said the ascent out of the global crisis is likely to be “long, uneven, and highly uncertain”.

On October 8, the World Bank said that India’s GDP was likely to contract by 9.6% in the 2020-’21 financial year. South Asia would register a negative growth rate of 7.7%, the World Bank said, adding that it would rebound to 4.5% in 2021-’22.

The United Nations said in a report last month that the Indian economy would diminish by 5.9% this year. The Asian Development Bank predicted a negative GDP growth rate of 9%. American credit rating agency Fitch Ratings forecast a decline of 10.5%.

India’s Covid-19 tally rose to 71,75,880 on Tuesday as the country reported 55,342 new infections in 24 hours, the lowest since mid-August. The country’s toll rose by 706 to 1,09,856 – also the lowest since the country reported 636 fatalities on July 27.