India’s economy grows by 8.4pc amid signs of recovery

NEW DELHI (AP) – India’s economy grew at an 8.4 per cent annual pace in the July-September quarter in the latest sign of an economic recovery in Asia’s third-largest economy, the government reported on Tuesday.

India suffered one of the biggest setbacks of any major economy in the last fiscal year.

In the same quarter a year before, the economy contracted by 7.4 per cent, badly hit by rising COVID-19 cases and a stringent nationwide lockdown, with restrictions lasting months that dealt a huge blow to economic activity.

After a devastating surge in virus cases stoked by the Delta variant earlier this year, the situation has improved in recent months. Daily cases have sunk to about 10,000 after breaching 400,000 in May. The pace of vaccinations has picked up, instilling confidence in reopening businesses and industries. Streets and markets across the country are now abuzz with activity.

Sectors like agriculture and mining performed well and helped lead the growth seen in the July-September quarter, experts said.

The economy expanded at a 20.1 per cent pace in the April-June quarter, the fastest growth since India began publishing GDP figures in 1996. But economists cautioned that the rise was calculated from 2020’s smaller base, when the economy shrank by 24.4 per cent in April-June, pulling the country into a recession.

A country enters a technical recession if its economy contracts for two successive quarters.

In 2020-21, India’s growth contracted by 7.3 per cent, worsening from a slowdown that slashed growth to four per cent from eight per cent in the two years before the pandemic hit.

Labourers work at a building construction site in India. PHOTO: AP