Monthly Insight

Risk Intelligence Report

DRI Monthly Reports are rigorous research investigations that go beyond reportage and commentary to add permanent value for clients.

Focusing on specific, topical issues and created through innovative methodologies and inputs from globally renowned experts, DRI Monthly Reports cut through noise and ephemera to tell you what you absolutely need to know – today and tomorrow.

Report No. 4 | April-May 2021

Comorbid India’s Economy and the Pandemic

The severe second COVID-19 pandemic wave continues to adversely impact lives, livelihoods and the economy in India, even as the threat of a third wave looms large. Rising uncertainty has reduced consumer and business confidence. Growth over the two-year period FY20 to FY22 could be zero percent or negative. This follows an economic slowdown during the three years preceding the pandemic. With investments and trade performance weak, the Indian economy was firing mainly on consumption, which the first and second waves of the pandemic have hit badly.

This edition of the DRI Monthly Report examines the factors that are likely to shape the recovery from the impact of the pandemic and its interaction with existing structural economic bottlenecks and is based on interviews with eight senior experts on the Indian economy as well as secondary research.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Key Short and Medium-Term Risks
India’s Economic Landscape
Banking and Finance
Foreign Investment Flows
Public Health, Poverty, and Jobs
Authors and Interviewees


Puja Mehra

Puja Mehra is a Delhi-based independent journalist and author of The Lost Decade (2009-18): How India’s Growth Story Devolved Into Growth Without a Story published by Penguin Random House in 2019. She was earlier the Economics Editor of The Hindu. She has also worked for The Economic Times, Business Standard and India Today.

Prachi Priya

Prachi Priya is a corporate economist and op-ed columnist based in Mumbai. Her career has spanned over 13 years in business and investment banking. She has contributed several opinion pieces in India’s leading English dailies and international magazines. Priya has also collaborated with Government of India’s think tank NITI Aayog as a co-author on a research report on India’s free trade agreements.

Abhijnan Rej

Abhijnan Rej is Director of Research at Diplomat Risk Intelligence. His areas of expertise include Asian geopolitics, India’s defense policy, emerging technologies, and geopolitical risk. Rej also has significant professional experience as a quantitative researcher in academia and the private sector.


Dr. N.R. Bhanumurthy

Vice Chancellor, Bengaluru Dr. B.R. Ambedkar School of Economics

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee

Consulting Editor, Business Standard and Senior Adjunct Fellow, Research and Information System For Developing Countries, New Delhi

Dr. Lekha S. Chakraborty

Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi

Dr. Ashok Desai

Former Chief Economic Advisor, Government of India

Dr. Niranjan Rajadhyaksha

Member of the academic advisory board, Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics

Dr. Ajay Shah

Professor, National Institute for Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi

Dr. Alok Sheel

Reserve Bank of India Chair Professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations

Dr. Charan Singh

Former Non-Executive Chairman, Punjab & Sindh Bank