Explained: How Covid-19 battered Indian economy during 2nd wave

When early indicators of the second Covid-19 wave emerged in India a number of months in the past, many consultants predicted that the financial injury wouldn’t be as unhealthy as the primary wave in 2020. There had been two major causes behind the assertion — India had vaccines in opposition to the virus and no nationwide lockdown was imposed.

But nearly three months after the primary indicators of the second wave emerged, India is struggling to vaccinate its vast population and strict lockdowns stay imposed in nearly all elements of the nation. As a end result, the financial growth projections shared earlier have changed drastically. Even SBI, the nation’s largest public lender, not too long ago slashed its FY22 development forecast.

Data on jobs, revenue, family revenue, client sentiment and demand present that the second wave has had a devastating impact on India’s economy, particularly on poorer residents and smaller companies. Even rural areas that had been a saving grace during the primary wave have been deeply affected this time.

Read | Covid-19: How 2nd wave has impacted jobs, household incomes


Many rankings companies and banks have lowered their FY22 GDP forecast for India in only a matter of months. While India’s March quarter (Q4FY21) GDP development improved, economists imagine that the beneficial properties have been eroded by the second wave of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the State Bank of India (SBI) slashed the nation FY22 development forecast to 7.9 per cent from the earlier 10.4 per cent. Several worldwide banks and rankings companies have additionally slashed India’s development for the present monetary yr in view of the devastation attributable to the second Covid-19 wave.

The first wave has already taken a toll on India’s GDP in 2020-21. Official figures for full-year development launched this week indicated that India’s economy contracted 7.3 per cent in FY21 — the sharpest ever within the nation’s historical past.

Read | Second wave of Covid infections can imperil India’s economic recovery, says S&P

While India’s economy was earlier anticipated to rebound sooner amongst all main economies in FY22, the primary quarter development has already been hit onerous by the second wave. In distinction, developed economies just like the US and China have witnessed a much better rebound. Even neighbouring Bangladesh has surpassed India when it comes to per capita revenue.

The decrease per capita revenue not solely alerts rising inequality among the many wealthy and poor but additionally highlights how poverty is on the rise in India.

SBI Chief Economist Soumya Kanti Ghosh advised information company Reuters that GDP development of lower than 10 per cent in FY22 would “not be very beautiful” for the nation.


Rising unemployment has emerged as the largest financial concern during the second Covid-19 wave because it has principally affected the informal economy and poorer households. India Today TV has reported many accounts of families struggling to make ends meet during the second wave.

While no nationwide lockdown was introduced this time, the native restrictions imposed throughout states have had an equally devastating impact on small businesses and their employees.

Data means that the tempo of employment elevated sharply in May as smaller corporations trimmed jobs on the quickest charge since October final yr.

Mumbai-based assume tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy had earlier confirmed that one crore Indians have misplaced jobs during the second wave and the numbers are nonetheless rising. The second wave has additionally led to a pointy rise in spending in direction of healthcare and 97 per cent of households within the nation have been left with decrease financial savings.

Given the present state of affairs, states might take some extra time to utterly unlock key financial actions. This may result in additional lack of employment and revenue amongst poorer households.

The first wave of the coronavirus pandemic had pushed many individuals beneath the poverty degree and the second wave could make the situation worse, given the cash folks needed to spend on healthcare.


Lack of demand and the dipping client sentiments during the second wave are two different components that may considerably make India’s financial restoration more durable.

The lack of demand could last longer during the second wave on account of increased healthcare prices and costs of important commodities resembling edible oil. During the primary wave, demand surge sharply as quickly because the pandemic subsided, aided by the festive season in October 2020.

Also Read | Explained: How lower demand impacts India’s Covid-hit economy

However, residents are usually not in a temper to spend freely this time, given the well being and monetary emergencies that shocked households during the second wave. Multiple surveys have indicated that consumer sentiments have been hit hard during the second wave and individuals are frightened of the uncertainties forward.

The mixture of sluggish demand development and lack of client confidence may considerably derail the economy as individuals are more likely to stay hesitant for an extended interval earlier than they begin spending on discretionary gadgets. The lack of vaccinations and worry of a third coronavirus wave has increased fear among citizens who’re more likely to save extra to arrange for uncertainties.

The absence of a serious reduction bundle this time may additionally make issues worse. Last time, India introduced a collection of reduction packages aimed toward serving to distressed residents and sectors, however no such measures have introduced this time.

The authorities, nonetheless, claims that many measures that had been part of the reduction bundle during the primary wave have been prolonged. But stories recommend that the reduction has not reached the poorest inhabitants within the nation.

Also Read | 14 days on, people in need yet to get money from Karnataka’s Covid-relief package

The solely notable reduction measure during the second wave was announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) a month ago. But the dearth of demand and the shortcoming of residents to repay money owed clearly reveals that the measures are falling quick for the time being.


One main proof of financial weak spot is official information on rising mortgage defaults and cheque bounces. Banks have reported an increase in mortgage defaults and cheque bounces during the second wave. It alerts that many voters are struggling to clear money owed.

Cheque bounces charge for mortgage repayments have doubled to over 20 per cent from the year-ago interval whereas bank card defaults rose to 18 per cent, urged a Reuters report, quoting information from fintech firm Creditas Solutions.

Also Read | Who can opt for loan repayment relief under RBI’s ‘Resolution Framework 2.0′

Meanwhile, a number of banks have indicated that retail mortgage defaults are more likely to rise within the coming months. HDFC Bank’s CEO Sashidhar Jagdishan not too long ago said during an investor name that the financial institution might not have a grip of what’s occurring for the primary time in so a few years.

All of those components indicated that the second Covid-19 wave has hit the Indian economy onerous and the consequences of the battering are more likely to turn into extra seen because the yr progresses.

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