Per capita Gross Domestic Product growth; government insists on looking at big picture 
AFP PHOTO / Manjunath Kiran

Downplaying IMF’s shocking projections that India’s per capita GDP this year would be less than that of Bangladesh this year, government sources seemed to find solace in the fact that India's GDP in terms of purchasing power parity was 11 times more than that of Bangladesh in 2019.

The IMF sees India's per capita GDP (in dollar terms, at current prices) falling to $1,877 in 2020, a decline of 10.3 per cent. For Bangladesh, the corresponding figure is seen growing to $1,888, a rise of 4 per cent.

In per capita GDP terms, India was significantly above Bangladesh till a few years ago, but the gap has substantially narrowed down owing to the country's rapidly rising exports. Besides, during the intervening period, while India's savings and investments remained sluggish, the corresponding numbers for Bangladesh saw a perceptible surge.

If IMF's forecast find their mark, it will leave India just ahead of Pakistan and Nepal in the regional GDP sweepstakes. It means other countries in South Asia — Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and, of course, Bangladesh — will be ahead of India.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi immediately latched onto the forecast and took a dig at the government, describing the slide as a "solid achievement" of six years of BJP's "hate-filled cultural nationalism".

The government sources, on their part, insisted on looking at the big picture and underscored that under the Modi dispensation, the per capita GDP has increased from Rs 83,091 in 2014-15 to Rs 1,08,620 in 2019-20, representing an increase of 30.7 per cent.

Likewise, in 2019, India's GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms was 11 times more than that of Bangladesh while population was eight times more. In PPP terms, India's per capita GDP in 2020 is estimated by IMF at USD 6,284, as against USD 5,139 for Bangladesh, according to the sources.

Under UPA 2, the sources said it had increased from Rs 65,394 in 2009-10 to Rs 78,348 in 2013-14, which is an increase of 19.8 per cent.

The IMF has estimated India's GDP will grow at 8.8 per cent in 2021 – which will be twice that of Bangladesh at 4.4 per cent.

According to IMF, India is set to drop below Bangladesh in terms of per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the economy is projected to contract by a massive 10.3 per cent this year.

IMF's forecast for India -- a huge downward revision from its previous prediction in June -- is also the biggest contraction projected among major emerging markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic. India's contraction of 10.3% is also going to be the third sharpest fall in the world after Spain and Italy,

Last week, the World Bank said India's GDP this fiscal is expected to contract by 9.6 per cent.

However, in all fairness IMF also says India is likely to bounce back with an impressive 8.8 per cent growth rate in 2021, thus regaining the position of the fastest growing emerging economy, surpassing China's projected growth rate of 8.2 per cent.

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Free Press Journal