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Agriculture Remains Bright Spot with the Sector Growing at 5.9 percent

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

The government on Friday released the GDP data for the fourth quarter of 2019-2020. The data showed the growth rate of the economy at 3.1 % in January-March. The GDP growth in 2019-20 was 3.1%. One of the worst-hit sectors was manufacturing, which contracted at a rate of 1.4 % compared to 0.8% from the previous quarter. The impact of COVID -19 was taken into account as the National Statistical Office(NSO) said” In view of the global COVID-19 pandemic and consequent nationwide lockdown measures implemented since March 2020; the data flow from the economic entities has been impacted. As some of these units are yet to resume operations and owing to the fact that the statutory timelines for submitting the requisite financial returns have been extended by the Government, these Estimates are based on the available data. Consequently, the Estimates (Quarterly as well as Annual) are likely to undergo revision” 

Agriculture, however, remained a bright spot with the sector growing at 5.9% compared to 3.6% from the October-December period. The provisional estimate for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing is expected to rise from 18,72,339 crores to 19,48,110 at a rate of about 4% while the Gross Value Added(GVA) at basic price by economic activity is expected to increase by 29,22,846 crores to 32,57,443 crores a rise of 11.4 %. The data is quite close to the Second Advance Estimates whose provisional estimate for 2019-20 was 3,7% and GVA at the basic price by economic activity was 11.3 % .

The growth has been attributed to a robust output of rabi crops. But experts say that the real state will be seen when the next data will be released of the April- May period when the country was almost in a complete lockdown. For this period, the government estimates a 3% growth rate but it will depend on several factors like Monsoon, the availability of labourers in states like Haryana and Punjab, and whether the restaurants and hotels open quickly.  

The next data will be of huge importance as many believe Agriculture might be the only sector that may contribute to the growth in GDP in the Financial year. The onus is now on the government is to make a strong plan so that the resurgent Agriculture sector softens the blows to the Indian economy. 

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