Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday reiterated his criticism of the Centre over the International Monetary Fund’s estimate that India’s per capita Gross Domestic Product will shrink 10.3% till March 31, 2021. Gandhi said that Pakistan and Afghanistan had fared better than India in handling the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Congress leader mockingly referred to the grim estimate as “another solid achievement” by the Bharatiya Janata Party government. “Even Pakistan and Afghanistan handled Covid better than India,” Gandhi tweeted, along with a chart depicting IMF’s growth projections for several Asian countries.
India faces the biggest contraction of major emerging markets because of the pandemic. The IMF estimated that smaller economies like Bangladesh and Nepal will grow at 3.8% and 2.5%, respectively.
Pakistan and Afghanistan’s per capita Gross Domestic Product is expected to fall 0.40% and 5%, respectively.
IMF had said in its World Economic Outlook report on Tuesday that “revisions to the forecast are particularly large for India, where GDP contracted much more severely than expected in the second quarter”.
With these projections, India would be the third-poorest country in South Asia. Pakistan and Nepal would be the only countries with lower GDP. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives would be ahead of India. The IMF predicted that Sri Lanka would be the second-most-affected after India. Sri Lanka’s per capita GDP is expected to shrink 4.6% in the current calendar year.
On Wednesday, Gandhi, a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi-led government’s economic policies and coronavirus-fighting strategy, tweeted: “Solid achievement of six years of BJP’s hate-filled cultural nationalism: Bangladesh set to overtake India.”
Moreover, the lockdowns imposed by the Centre on March 25 caused the Indian economy to contract by a record 23.9% in the April to June quarter.
India has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States and the third-highest toll after Brazil. The country’s tally rose to 73,70,468 on Friday and the toll reached 1,12,161.