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Experts peg India's Covid-19 lockdown cost at $120 bn, call for relief plan

Pegging the cost of the Covid-19 lockdown at $120 billion (approximately Rs 9 trillion) or 4 per cent of the GDP, analysts on Wednesday sharply cut their growth estimates and stressed on the need to announce an economic package.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is scheduled to announce its first bi-monthly policy review on April 3, is set to deliver a deep rate cuts and it should also be assumed that the fiscal deficit targets will be breached, analysts said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a three-week complete lockdown of the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infections in the country. The equity markets were in the red early into the trade on Wednesday, down 0.47 per cent.

We estimate that the cumulative shutdown cost around $120 billion or 4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), British brokerage Barclays said in a note, revising down its FY21 growth forecast by 1.7 percentage points to 3.5 per cent.

It specified the cost of the three-week nationwide lockdown to be alone at $90 billion, which is over and above the lockdowns announced by various states like Maharashtra earlier.

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