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2nd Covid wave closing in on rural India, impact visible in high-frequency indicators: CRISIL

Retail mobility has fallen 8.2 pp on average in week ending May 2; workplace mobility slowed 7.1 pp vs 7.9 pp a week ago; online toll collection dipped 2 per cent on-week; and GST e-way bill collection declined 6.9 per cent on-week for week ending April 25, says CRISIL report

2nd Covid wave closing in on rural India, impact visible in high-frequency indicators: CRISIL

Share of predominantly rural districts in new cases in April was 30 per cent, up from 21 per cent in March, says CRISIL

The impact of state-announced curbs is showing up across high frequency indicators, including retail and workplace mobility, power supply, GST e-way bill collection and power supply, which are trending down for the second consecutive week now. The country's crushing 2nd Covid-19 wave continues to make new peaks with every passing day, as daily cases near the four lakh level for several days now.

"The second wave is closing in on rural India. The share of predominantly rural districts in new cases in April was 30 per cent, up from 21 per cent in March. This is still lower than the peak reached in the first wave (at 40 per cent in August 2020)," says the CRISIL report.

Also Read: COVID-19 vaccination: India needs 8 yrs 9 months to achieve herd immunity

CRISIL, in its research report 'Wall of Worry, Covid-19 and its impact on the economic activity in India', says retail mobility has fallen 8.2 pp on average in the week ending May 2 vs 11.4 pp decline in the week ending April 25.

Workplace mobility slowed 7.1 pp vs 7.9 pp a week ago. Similarly, toll collection via electronic mode declined 2 per cent on-week, compared to -8 per cent the week prior. Power supply grew marginal 0.9 per cent on-week compared to 1.9 per cent contraction a week ago, it said.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) e-way bill collection (volume) declined 6.9 per cent on-week for week ending April 25 vs -6.2 per cent, week ending April 18. Railway freight loading fell by 2.1 per cent in the week ending May 2 vs -0.7 per cent a week earlier.

Also read: India to reach 'peak' of 2nd Covid wave in 20 days from now, says SBI Research

The report added that daily vaccinations are slowing as vaccine supplies are choked. Vaccine supply "dropped from 1992 per million in the week prior to 1,585 per million on average in the week ending May 02," it said.

Notably, this is the third straight week that daily vaccinations have declined despite the Centre initiating the inoculation drive from May 1. Cumulatively, India has administered 15.4 crore doses so far. As vaccine supply remains disrupted, several states have expressed inability to begin the drive owing to shortage of supplies.

The CRISIL report says India could learn from other countries globally that have been through second and third waves. "Many advanced economies that saw a resurgence in late 2020/early 2021 clamped down with renewed restrictions, some more stringent than the first time around (e.g.,Germany, United Kingdom)," it said, adding that as people and businesses learned to live with the virus, economic activity was less impacted.

Additionally, "economic stimulus" pumped into the economies during the second and third quarters of 2020 somewhat "cushioned" the impact from the subsequent waves, said the CRISIL report.

Also read: Barclays cuts India's FY22 GDP forecast to 10%; figures to get worse if curbs continue

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