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Economic Survey: Himachal Pradesh registers negative growth of 6.2%

Economic Survey: Himachal Pradesh registers negative growth of 6.2%
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Shimla: In a biggest down-turn, primarily attributed to multifarious effects of the lockdown, Himachal Pradesh has suffered a negative growth of 6.2 per cent in the current financial year 2020-21.

This is a record drop in the small state's economy from 8.9 per cent in 2019-20 and a further blow 2018-19's growth rate of 7.1 percent.

The biggest adverse impact of the global pandemic has come from Himachal Pradesh's tourism sector which has seen a contraction by over 81.33 in the arrival of the domestic and foreign tourists arrivals. Trade, hotel and restaurants also slipped down by 9.2 percent during the year while it was up by 4.2 percent in the previous year.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who also holds the finance portfolio tabled the Economic Survey report for the year 2020-2021 in the state assembly on Friday–a day before he presents the state's annual budget for year 2021-22.

The Per Capita Income (PCI) at the current price is estimated to drop by 3.7 per cent to Rs 1,83,286 from the previous year's Rs 1,90,407.

The report which has dedicated a full chapter on Covid-19 and twin shocks of the pandemic on the overall economy of the state, says almost all the revenue-generating sectors have witnessed a sharp decline including sectors like forestry and mining.

"The highest fall under the primary sectors can be seen in the mining and quarrying sector which is 18.4 percent from the earlier year. The forestry sector dropped by 17.5 percent during the lockdown forcing everyone to stay home and all activities remained suspended. The non-availability of the labour to work had huge impact," says the report.

Transport services were also hit, registering a negative growth of 28 per cent, which includes road, rail, water and air transport. This is in sharp contrast to the 5.6 per cent growth in the previous financial year.

"The trends in the industrial sector during the pandemic too indicate a grim scenario with a contraction of 14.2 per cent in manufacturing," the economic survey report reads.

Manufacturing and construction sector, considered as the backbone of the economy, also took a hit in 2019-20 having a drop of 14.2 percent.

The setback on account of Covid was relatively less in the Agriculture and Allied sectors. This sector registered a contraction of 3.1 per cent which due to a decrease of 43 per cent in horticulture production. The agriculture sector, which sustains 60 per cent of the population, in gross value added at the current price declined to 13.62 per cent in 2020-21. The slight increase in the State Domestic Product of 15.8 percent is attributed to community and personal services sectors.

Meanwhile, Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar on Friday also revoked suspension of five Congress MLAs including Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, who had allegedly "manhandled" Governor Bandaru Dattatreya at State assembly Complex on February 26–first day of the budget session.

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