NEW DELHI: India may have crossed the Covid-19 peak, caseload data for the 14-day period from September 17 to 30 suggests, the finance ministry said in a report while cautioning that the disease was far from over and urging all stakeholders to push for economic recovery as positivity rate improves.
The report said that during this period, the seven-day moving average of daily positive cases had steadily declined from about 93,000 to 83,000 while the seven-day moving average of daily tests rose from about 1,15,000 to 1,24,000.
“Yet, the declining positivity rate at all-India level sets the stage to further push up the frontiers of economic recovery. For this, all stakeholders need to get into the act as remaining restrictions on access and mobility are further eased. More than “social distancing” it is “self-protection with due precautions” that better fits into the context of “jaan bhi aur jahaan bhi”,” the monthly report of the finance ministry for September said.

It also said that a raft of economic data in September points to a steady recovery in almost all sectors, while asserting that with India unlocking every day, demand resurgence is palpable across segments.
“Economic indicators allude to a steady recovery in almost all sectors, with some sectors shooting above their previous-year levels as well. This is despite headwinds of increasing Covid cases in non-metro cities and rural areas and rising food prices. Positive results from the implementation of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat (AB) package and unlocking of the economy are evident in India’s high-frequency real sector indicators of September,” according to the finance ministry’s monthly economic review for September.
The Indian economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 induced lockdown, with the GDP falling by nearly 24% in the June quarter pointing to sharp contraction for the full year. But the unlocking of economic and other activities which is underway has led to improvement in a majority of economic indicators with most displaying a narrowing of sharp contractions seen in the previous months.
The report said that the implementation of Aatmanirbhar Bharat package and unlocking of the economy have ensured that economic recovery in India has gained momentum. This is seen in agriculture with production of kharif foodgrains in 2020-21 estimated to go past the previous year’s level.
It said the growth of demand in the rural sector was reflected in the registration of two wheelers/three wheelers/passenger vehicles along with tractor sales reaching/surpassing previous year levels in August. Other high-frequency indicators have also improved in sync with global activity. Increase in global demand has led to expansion of India’s export at 5.3% in September on a year-on-year basis. The recovery in rail freight enabled revenue earnings clocking positive year-on-year growth for the first time since March in the months of August and early September, the report said.
It said that easing of inter-state movement restrictions, quarantine policy and unlocking were accompanied with recovery in rail passenger earnings as well. Cargo traffic volumes continued to inch up towards previous year levels reporting a still lower year-on-year contraction in August. With domestic aviation traffic also increasing, the upcoming festive months are expected to further boost growth.
“The sustained spread of the virus poses a downside risk to short-term and medium-term growth rate. To combat these risks, the government has strategically undertaken various important structural reforms encompassing various sectors. These will strengthen the fundamentals of the economy towards a strong and sustainable long-term growth,” said the report prepared by the economic division in the department of economic affairs
“The enabling policy environment and initiatives taken by all stakeholders to seize the available opportunities will actualise the growth potential of the Indian economy.
In its latest review, S&P Global Ratings have retained India’s investment grade (BBB-) credit rating with stable outlook as it expects the country’s economy and fiscal position to stabilise and begin to recover from 2021 onwards. India’s probable growth path is visible in this assessment,” said the report.

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