India suffers first recession in decades

India suffers first recession in decades

India has plunged into recession for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century as the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on Asia’s third biggest economy.

Official data published on Friday showed gross domestic product for the July-September quarter fell by 7.5% compared to the same period last year, when the economy was growing by more than 4%.

That follows a record drop of nearly 24% in GDP in the April-June period, the first quarter of India’s fiscal year.

“With a view to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, restrictions were imposed on the economic activities not deemed essential during [the first quarter],” the Indian Ministry of Statistics said in a statement on Friday. “Though the restrictions have been gradually lifted, there has been an impact on the economic activities.”

The data highlights the contrasting fortunes of India and China in the wake of the pandemic.

While much of the world continued to struggle with the virus, China’s recovery accelerated in the most recent quarter. The country enforced stringent lockdown and population tracking policies intended to contain the virus, and set aside hundreds of billions of dollars for major infrastructure projects to fuel economic growth. It may be the only major economy to end the year bigger than it started.

— This story will be updated.