The key economic numbers are finally out. The Indian economy, according to data of the Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation, has expanded by 4.4 per cent in the October-December quarter of the current financial year 2022-23 over the year-ago period.
In absolute numbers, the gross domestic product or GDP at constant prices in Q3 2022-23 was Rs 40.19 lakh crores during October-December 2022, as against Rs 38.51 lakh crores in the same period in 2021. The economic activity during the July-September 2022 was Rs 38.80 lakh crores.
Compared to the July-September quarter, the economic activity in the October-December 2022 quarter grew only by 3.58 per cent. The exceptionally small difference in the economic activity of the second quarter and the third quarter is worrisome because the October-December period is considered to be the festive season, when people intend to splurge in India.
Considering the muted growth in economic activity in the festive season, the economic recovery appears to be not evenly spread out in all segments of population in the country.
The festive season wasn’t so joyous for many sections of people, if one goes by the Reserve Bank of India’s quarterly report. According to the central bank, banks had seen only a 16.8 per cent growth in the loan off-take in the October-December quarter — the festive season — compared to the 17.2 per cent growth witnessed in the July-September quarter.
Domestic two-wheeler sales stood at 39 lakh in the October-December 2022 quarter compared to 42.18 lakh in the pre-Covid October-December 2019 quarter.
These data points suggest uneven recovery from the Covid-induced economic upheaval in the country, in spite of the contact flow of inspiring news on the economic front. The government should also remain vigilant to protect economically-weaker sections of the society from the after-effects of the pandemic.