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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Third wave could further drop GDP forecast, Centre should be spending more: Abhijit Banerjee

Banerjee told mediapersons after holding a meeting of the West Bengal government's Global Advisory Board (GAB), at the state secretariat, Nabanna.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
August 6, 2021 5:47:42 am
Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat on Thursday. (Source: CMO)

Nobel laureate economist Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee on Thursday said that the impending third wave of Covid-19 could adversely impact the GDP, and its growth rate might go down to 7 per cent, even below the IMF’s recent projection of 9.5 per cent.

Banerjee told mediapersons after holding a meeting of the West Bengal government’s Global Advisory Board (GAB), at the state secretariat, Nabanna.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its economic growth forecast for India from 12.5% to 9.5% for the fiscal year to March 31, 2022. But I suspect it may drop to 6% to 7% at the end. I can’t give it in writing. But if another wave hits it may drop further. I hope it doesn’t happen,” Banerjee said.

He criticised the Central government over rising fuel prices, saying the government should have been more open-handed with their spending during the pandemic.

“The Centre is too unwilling to do what the US and European countries are doing, which is printing money and spending it. That would have been a better policy in the current context particularly when we are not avoiding inflation,” he said.

Swarup Sarkar, former regional director of WHO, said, “It will not be possible to check another wave of Covid-19 till the time 80%-90% of the citizens are vaccinated… Government figures suggest that it won’t be possible to vaccinate 80%-90% of the people before June 2022. Till then, we need to continue the preventive measures.”

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