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Icra revises up FY22 GDP growth forecast to 9%

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A ramp-up in COVID-19 vaccination, healthy advance estimates of Kharif (summer) crop and faster government spending were the factors that led to the revision, the agency said in a statement.

Rating agency Icra on Monday revised up its 2021-22 real GDP growth estimate for India to 9 per cent from the sooner 8.5 per cent.

A ramp-up in COVID-19 vaccination, healthy advance estimates of Kharif (summer) crop and faster government spending were the factors that led to the revision, the agency said during a statement.

It is often noted that after the 7.3 per cent contraction in 2020-21, there have been expectations of a better growth number in 2021-22.

However, the second wave of COVID-19 infections early into the financial year, which spread even within the hinterland, made analysts more circumspect. The RBI expects the economy to grow at 9.5 percent.

Icra on Monday said it expects the last half of the financial year to possess brighter prospects.

The widening coverage of COVID-19 vaccines is probably going to spice up confidence, which can successively re-energise demand for contact-intensive services, helping to revive the portions of the economy affected most by the pandemic,” its chief economist Aditi Nayar said.

The robust Kharif harvest is probably going to sustain the consumption demand from the farm sector while the expected acceleration within the central government spending after the withdrawal of the sooner cash management guidelines will recharge this key driver of aggregate demand, she added.

The key risk to its revised projection of 9 per cent GDP growth may be a potential third wave and therefore the existing vaccines being ineffective against newer mutations of the virus, she said.

Nearly three-fourths of Indian adults could receive their second vaccine shot by the top of 2021 if the typical 7.9 million doses each day recorded between September 1-26 is sustained, Icra estimated.

Nayar said late sowing has helped bring the Kharif acreage nearly at par with last year's record area. In line with this, the primary advance estimates of crop production for 2021-22 signalled a strong rise in Kharif output, barring coarse cereals and oilseeds, quelling the concerns raised by the uneven monsoon and episodes of flooding.

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Based on these, the agency has revised up its GVA (gross value added) growth estimate for agriculture, forestry and fishing to three per cent each in the second and third quarters of 2021-22 from the sooner projection of a tepid 2 per cent rise, she added.

The Centre's spending contracted 4.7 per cent in April-July 2021 year-on-year, and stood at 28.8 per cent of the 2021-22 Budget Estimates, the agency said, expecting better government spending to spice up growth in the last half of the year.

However, it said that trends from the economic sector remain lacklustre in September 2021, with semi-conductor non-availability weighing upon auto production and a flattening out of GST e-way bills.

Moreover, heavy rains have dampened electricity demand and are likely to distort trends in mining and construction.