India breathed a collective sigh of relief as the second wave seemed to have abated for now. The daily new cases of Covid 19 have come down quite steadily and gave respite to all anxious citizens of this vast country. The prediction of a third wave remains a cause for concern and the Government appears to take steps for tackling the same. The most noticeable measure is redesigning of the vaccination program wherein the Union Government has taken control of the procurement, supply and distribution of the vaccines throughout the country. The immediate effect was that India administered 86,16,373 Covid-19 vaccine doses on day one of the policy implementation, a world record so far.  

Moody’s revises forecastMoody’s has revised its forecast Moody’s Investors Service recently slashed India’s growth projection to 9.6 per cent for 2021 calendar year, from its earlier estimate of 13.9 per cent, and said faster vaccination progress will be paramount in restricting economic losses to June quarter. In its report titled ‘Macroeconomics India: Economic shocks from second COVID wave will not be as severe as last year’s’, Moody’s said high-frequency economic indicators show that the second wave of COVID-19 infections hit India’s economy in April and May. “The virus resurgence adds uncertainty to India’s growth forecast for 2021; however, it is likely that the economic damage will remain restricted to the April-June quarter. We currently expect India’s real GDP to grow at 9.6 per cent in 2021 and 7 per cent in 2022,” Moody’s said. Earlier this month, Moody’s had projected India to clock a 9.3 per cent growth in the current fiscal ending March 2022, but a severe second COVID wave has increased risks to India’s credit profile and rated entities. Stating that stringent lockdowns in economically significant states will mar April-June quarter economic activity, Moody’s said the 10 states that have been hardest hit by the second wave collectively account for more than 60 per cent of the pre-pandemic level of India’s GDP. “Mobility and economic activity will likely accelerate in the second half of the year as the pace of vaccinations pick up. The government recently announced a strategy to centralise vaccine procurement in order to boost vaccinations, which if successful, will support the economic recovery,” it added. “We assess the overall economic effect of the second wave to be softer than that during the first wave of the pandemic last year, although delivery of and access to vaccines will determine the durability of the recovery,” Moody’s added.

World Bank – The World Bank recently released its June 2021 Global Economic Prospects report. The report, in its South Asia Outlook section, mentioned that COVID-19 cases have surged in South Asia and the situation in India has been particularly difficult. It mentioned that in India, an enormous second COVID-19 wave is undermining the rebound in services and manufacturing activity. High frequency data, including a renewed drop in foot traffic around work and retail spaces, suggests that activity is again collapsing. India’s Fiscal Year 2021/22 budget announced more than a doubling of health-related spending and a revised fiscal path intended to counteract the pandemic. India’s growth for FY 2021/22, which began in April 2021, is forecast at 8.3%, supported by plans for higher spending on infrastructure, rural development, and health, and a stronger-than-expected recovery in services. Better growth prospects since January, however, masks significant damage to economic activity from COVID19. The economy is expected to follow the same, yet less pronounced, collapse and recovery seen during the first wave. Growth in FY 2022/23 is expected to slow to 7.5%.

India in top 10 in UN Global Cybersecurity IndexIndia has made it to the top 10 in Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020 by ITU, moving up 37 places to rank as the tenth best country in the world on key cybersafety parameters. The affirmation by the UN body of India’s efforts on cybersecurity, comes just ahead of the sixth anniversary of Digital India on July 1. India is emerging as a global IT superpower, asserting its digital sovereignty with firm measures to safeguard data privacy and online rights of citizens. As per the ranking, India has moved up by 37 places to rank as the tenth best country in the world in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020 launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on June 29, 2021. India has also secured the fourth position in the Asia Pacific region, underlining its commitment to cybersecurity. GCI assessment is done on the basis of performance on five parameters of cybersecurity including legal measures, technical measures, organisational measures, capacity development, and cooperation. The performance is then aggregated into an overall score. For each of the five aspects, all the countries’ performance and commitment were assessed through a question-based online survey, which further allowed for the collection of the supporting evidence.

Slip in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)India’s rank has slipped by two places from last year to 117 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted as a part of the 2030 agenda by 193 United Nations member states in 2015, a new report has said. The State of India’s Environment Report 2021 revealed that India’s rank was 115 last year and dropped by two places primarily because major challenges like ending hunger and achieving food security (SDG 2), achieving gender equality (SDG 5) and building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation (SDG 9) remain in the country. India ranks below four South Asian countries — Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, it said. The overall SDG score of India is 61.9 out of 100.

Posted by Sourish Mohan Mitra

Sourish Mohan Mitra is an India-qualified lawyer from Symbiosis Law School, Pune and currently working as an in-house counsel with a global research firm in Delhi, India; views expressed are personal; he can be reached at sourish24x7@gmail.com; Twitter: @sourish247

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