April 9, 2020
The report warns against the social and economic impact of the pandemic on trade, tourism, and financial services
India is expected to experience a lower impact on economic growth, relative to forecasts for the region
The Asia Pacific economy could record losses of up to US$170 billion owing to the Coronavirus pandemic
India has proposed a COVID-19 emergency fund under SAARC, with an initial contribution of US$10 million
A recent United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) 2020 on sustainable economies has estimated India’s GDP growth to be 4.8 per cent in the current financial year 2020-21, following the adverse global economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report released earlier in April, the current crisis is causing a broad range of social and economic repercussions in the Asia-Pacific region, requiring nations to mitigate its impact on trade, tourism, and financial services through strategic action.
As per information and data recorded up to March 10, the report estimated India maintaining a GDP growth of 4.8 per cent in FY 2020-21 amidst the current economic downturn. Given the global economic meltdown caused by the pandemic, this projection showcases the effectiveness of India’s response to the crisis in ensuring a lowered impact on growth. The report noted how the rapid, unyielding spread of the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to significant “negative impacts on the economic performance of countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific”, affecting global manufacturing operations and supply chains.
To navigate potential weaknesses in income growth and rising unemployment rates, the report said India must continue prioritising trade and tourism activities with fellow South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member nations.
The ESCAP report suggested potential losses of US$130 to US$170 billion during the pandemic for the Asia Pacific economy, owing to a global reliance on the region for vital production and trade operations. India currently produces 20 per cent of global pharmaceutical supply by volume with a heavy reliance on imports of raw materials, which showcases the need for effective cooperation and coordination between countries during this time.
The report also acknowledged India’s proposal to establish a COVID-19 emergency fund under SAARC, initiated by the country with a contribution of US$10 million. As a reliable source of affordable, high-quality products and services to almost 190 countries globally, India is well placed to enhance its support capabilities through improved cooperation in trade regulations, research, and the development of services.