The quarterly business confidence index (BCI) for the January-March 2020 period by economic think tank NCAER (National Council for Applied Economic Research) fell by 30 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The N-BCI dropped to 77.3 from 111.2 in the last quarter of 2019-20, the lowest since 1998 (during the Asian financial crisis).
The results were based on the 112th survey conducted by NCAER in March. The report said that while the sentiment in the quarter was already low in the quarter, it fell sharply in March when businesses were forced to shut operations to contain the spread of COVID-19.
"A weekly examination of the four components showed that business sentiments took a turn for the worse during the fourth and fifth weeks of March, coinciding with the announcement of the first COVID-19 lockdown on March 24," the report said.
The index, which is part of the institute's Business Expectations Survey (BES), showed a decline in sentiment across the board from the 600 companies it tracks.
Further, another survey conducted by NCAER telephonically in the first week of April showed that the incomes of a vast majority were affected due to the nationwide lockdown.
Around 1,750 adults across Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) were surveyed between April 3 and April 6.
Nearly 85 percent of the Delhi National Capital Region Coronavirus Telephone Survey (DCVTS) respondents said that their income or wages were reduced in the two weeks before the survey (since 20 March). The reduction in income was highest for casual workers and lowest for salary workers and farmers.
It was also noted in the report that income of farmers will be hurt after the harvesting season is over (towards the end of April or May) as there is a possibility that the ongoing lockdown and social distancing directions may make it difficult to sell and deliver their produce.