Domestic credit ratings agency Crisil on Monday cut its FY22 growth estimate for India to 9.5 per cent from the earlier 11 per cent due to the hit to private consumption and investments following the second wave of COVID-19.
The rating agency joins other watchers who have cut their FY22 growth projections, with some pegging it as low as 7.9 per cent.
The economy had contracted by 7.3 per cent in FY21.
Cutting its forecasts, economists at Crisil said "the downward revision is premised on the clearly evident hit to the two engines of growth -- private consumption and investment -- by the second wave." Their note said daily cases have "mercifully" peaked, but added that states will be cautious about unlocking anytime soon owing to risks of another wave and tardy vaccinations.
It underlined that this is unlike what was witnessed after the first wave last fiscal, when a largely uniform and calibrated reopening spurred quite a sharp recovery.
The agency further said it has assumed that COVID-19 restrictions will continue and mobility will remain affected in some form or other, at least till August, adding that the pace of recovery will also be a function of how the vaccination drive progresses in the coming months.
Noting that the government's target to get 68 per cent of the adult population vaccinated by end of the year is a "tall order", the agency said countries with over 40 per cent of their population vaccinated are seeing a faster and more broad-based economic recovery.
"A third wave would pose a significant downside risk to the growth forecast, as would a slower-than-anticipated pace of vaccination. In such a pessimistic case, we see GDP growing at 8 per cent," the economists said.
They said the gains made in the last quarter of FY21, when the economy went over the pre-pandemic levels by reporting a growth rate of 1.6 per cent, have been erased and it will take more than a quarter to revisit the pre-pandemic levels.
In its base case of 9.5 per cent growth, the pre-pandemic levels will be achieved some time after September, while in the pessimistic scenario of 8 per cent growth, quarterly GDP would surpass the pre-pandemic level only in the third quarter.