Isan Soul Thai Street Food


Dates and times

Location

Isan Soul Thai Street Food

98 Bourke St

Melbourne 3000

Contact details

  • telephone number:
    0411 539 922

  • email address:
    hello.isansoul@gmail.com



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Brunswick Street Art Party


Date & time

Sat 15 May 2021
12:00pm to 4:00pm

Add to Calendar
2021-05-15 12:00
2021-05-15 16:00
Australia/Brisbane
Brunswick Street Art Party
Keen for an arty party? The Valley is painting the precinct on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 May when local street artists flex their visual art skills at the Brunswick Street Art Party.
 
Bringing vibrancy to the Valley, talented local artists will take over Brunswick Street Mall with a live exhibition of visual installations and performance arts<font><font> featuring graffiti skills, painting, dance and music.</font></font><br /><font><font>&nbsp;
Watch as blank canvases transform into finished art over the two days in a unique display of local street artists</font></font><font><font>,</font></font><font><font> curated by Butter Beats Record Store&rsquo;s Jason Woodward with Brissie musicians</font></font><font><font>, to soundtrack your arty weekend.
&nbsp;
Brunswick Street Art Party culminates daily with the Brunswick Street Art Breaking Battle from 2pm&ndash;4pm with local performers from the multi-award-winning Elements Collective dance company. Get pumped for the hip-hop moves and street culture when Valley b-boys and b-girls show off their breaking skills on the mall d-floor.

<strong>Program schedule&nbsp;</strong>
12noon-2pm: Live and Local – Kululu Waria
12noon-4pm: Street Artists painting
2-4pm: Breaking dance battle – preliminary rounds</font></font>
Brunswick Street Mall, Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley

Age

Open

Cost

Free

Brunswick Street Art Party

Keen for an arty party? The Valley is painting the precinct on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 May when local street artists flex their visual art skills at the Brunswick Street Art Party.
 
Bringing vibrancy to the Valley, talented local artists will take over Brunswick Street Mall with a live exhibition of visual installations and performance arts featuring graffiti skills, painting, dance and music. 
Watch as blank canvases transform into finished art over the two days in a unique display of local street artists, curated by Butter Beats Record Store’s Jason Woodward with Brissie musicians, to soundtrack your arty weekend.
 
Brunswick Street Art Party culminates daily with the Brunswick Street Art Breaking Battle from 2pm–4pm with local performers from the multi-award-winning Elements Collective dance company. Get pumped for the hip-hop moves and street culture when Valley b-boys and b-girls show off their breaking skills on the mall d-floor.

Program schedule 
12noon-2pm: Live and Local – Kululu Waria
12noon-4pm: Street Artists painting
2-4pm: Breaking dance battle – preliminary rounds

Bookings

No bookings required. 

Venue

Brunswick Street Mall, Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley

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Aamer Anwar: In Kenmure Street it was people that won immigrants’ freedom


ON Thursday, the Home Office thought they were leading an intelligence-led immigration raid. Had Priti’s finest bothered to check, then they should have known that Pollokshields was the most diverse community in Scotland with the highest population of Muslims.

Such sheer stupidity meant that within seconds of two Indian men being grabbed from their beds, their neighbours had mobilised and via social media called on others to rush to Kenmure Street to surround the enforcement van. One hero of the day now known as van man planted himself under the wheels of the van refusing to move.

Inside the van, both detained men had little clue of what was going on other than that noise outside was increasing by the hour, as were the chants of “let them go, they are our neighbours”.

From 10.30am onwards Pollokshields was being “swamped” by Police Scotland and a tense standoff was taking place. Local activists and politicians were concerned that their community had the potential to explode. After seeing videos of up to 40 public order vans flood the area, I had no choice but to join the protest and I suspect many others felt the same.

In over 30 years of protests, I have never seen such a diverse protest take place on the streets of Pollokshields. I spoke to the crowd after being introduced by community activist Mohammed Asif who became a friend after his arrival in Glasgow over 20 years ago as an asylum seeker from Afghanistan.

Standing in Kenmure Street brought back memories of Sighthill 2001 when Kurdish asylum seeker Firsat Daag was stabbed to death in what many believed was a racist murder. That day Asif and myself led a march of over 1000 asylum-seekers from Sighthill on Glasgow City Council to demand justice, a few nights later we were back in the Southside of Glasgow as the police tried to evict protesters from the Govanhill Pool protest. My words to the commanding officer that night were if you wish the protest to stop, if you want disorder to stop, then retreat, this is our community and peace will descend. That was exactly what happened.

My experience time and time again has been when you put police in riot gear, into the heart of a community you have already lost control.

My message to senior officers of Police Scotland that day was simple, there was only one way this was going to end and that was with the unconditional release of the two men, the alternative of using force to disperse the local community from their own streets would lead to a riot.

For me, the picking of Eid by immigration for a raid was reckless, cynical and provocative. Initially, the cowards from the Home Office would not even respond to repeated calls by the First Minister or Humza Yousaf and in the end, they were left to deal with some useless junior minister. Can you imagine Priti Patel (below) not picking up the phone to the Metropolitan Police if London was about to explode?

The National: Priti Patel

It was as though the Home Office had lit a fuse in the heart of our community but wanted to watch from London as carnage ensued. This must never be allowed to happen again – as for our police, they need to remember they work for us and not Priti Patel, they need to change protocols fast, as next time there might not be any second chances. As for our politicians, the SNP, Greens and Labour showed exactly what can happen when we work together to save lives. Their conduct was impeccable.

The police subsequently stated that public safety must be paramount and just after 5pm released the two men into my custody to march to freedom, with a police cordon, ironically “kettled in” by a crowd of several hundred.

The National:

It was an amazing moment to open the door of the van and speak to Lakhvir and Sandhev, to speak to them in Punjabi and tell them they were free and turn round and say it is because of them, because of the people of Glasgow. Both men were overwhelmed and with tears in their eyes said thank you to Glasgow and Scotland.

Glasgow is a city built through the blood sweat and tears of generation after generation of immigrants. In Kenmure Street it was people power that won these men their freedom, because they are our neighbours, we have done it before and we will do it again.



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US cities see surge in deadly street racing amid pandemic


Jaye Sanford, a 52-year-old mother of two, was driving home in suburban Atlanta on Nov. 21 when a man in a Dodge Challenger muscle car who was allegedly street racing crashed into her head-on, killing her.

Sanford was remembered by friends as kind and thoughtful, but now she will also be remembered for something else: a new state law that requires jail time for all convictions for drag racing and stunt driving.

Street racers block roads and even interstates to keep police away while they tear around and perform stunts, often captured on videos that go viral. Packs of vehicles, from souped-up jalopies to high-end sports cars, roar down city streets, through industrial neighborhoods and down rural roads.

Experts say TV shows and movies glorifying street racing had already fueled interest in recent years.

Then shutdowns associated with the pandemic cleared normally clogged highways as commuters worked from home.

Those with a passion for fast cars often had time to modify them, and to show them off, said Tami Eggleston, a sports psychologist who participates in legal drag racing.

“With COVID, when we were separated from people, I think people sort of bonded in their interest groups,” said Eggleston, who is also the provost of McKendree University, a small college in suburban St. Louis. “So that need to want to socialize and be around other people brought the racers out.”

But people have been killed. The snarl of engines and traffic tie-ups have become huge annoyances. Racers have been reported wielding guns and strewing beer cans in parking lots.

Now, police in many cities are stepping up enforcement, and states are fighting back with new laws.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill named for Sanford last week after it passed the General Assembly. Besides mandating at least 10 days of jail time for all drag racing convictions, the measure requires people convicted a third time within five years to forfeit their vehicles.

“This illegal activity is very dangerous,” the Republican governor said at a bill-signing ceremony. “Our goal is simple: to protect every family in every community.”

In New York City, authorities received more than 1,000 drag racing complaints over six months last year — a nearly five-fold increase over the same period in 2019.

“Illegal street racing puts lives at risk and keeps us up at night,” said New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman. “While there’s been less traffic during the pandemic, some drivers have used this as an opportunity to treat our streets like a NASCAR speedway.”

The Democratic lawmaker has introduced legislation that would authorize New York City to operate its speed cameras overnight and on weekends in hot spots for illegal street racing. The Senate Transportation Committee recently unanimously approved the measure, setting it up for a floor vote.

In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law in March a bill that allows state troopers to respond to incidents in cities. On New Year’s Eve, drivers blocked traffic on an interstate highway in Jackson, the state capital, for an hour while they spun out and did donuts, etching circles in the pavement.

Even though the highway patrol headquarters was nearby, troopers couldn’t respond because they were prohibited from handling incidents in cities with over 15,000 people. That prohibition will be lifted when the new law takes effect July 1.

In Arizona, the state Senate has passed a bill to impose harsher penalties. It now awaits a House vote. Under an ordinance approved in March by the Phoenix City Council, police can impound a car involved in street racing or reckless driving for up to 30 days.

Meanwhile, the death toll climbs. On the night of May 2, a 28-year-old woman was killed in Phoenix when a street racer crashed into her car. A man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, handed out thousands of tickets for speeding and racing since a crackdown began in October.

“Racing up and down our streets is so deadly, especially while more kids, seniors, pedestrians and cyclists are out during this pandemic,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

Street racing in an industrial neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, scares people who work there. A motorcyclist was killed last month in a crash that police said apparently involved racing. Business owners on April 2 wrote to the mayor and city commissioners, asking them to take action.

Kathryn, an employee in the neighborhood’s Portland French Bakery, says the roadside and its 2-mile (3.2 kilometer) straightaway are littered with alcohol containers on Mondays after weekends of racing and stunts. Spray-painted lines mark start and finish lines. Parking lots are scarred by circular tire tracks or completely eroded in places by spinning tires.

“A lot of the employees are afraid to go anywhere near them, honestly. There’s been a couple of shootings,” said Kathryn, who didn’t want her last name used because she was worried about possible retaliation from street racers.

Portland police say they’re too overwhelmed to do much about it.

“The city of Portland has experienced an enormous increase in our shooting rate, a staggering amount of volatile demonstrations, while our staffing numbers have dwindled,” said acting Lt. Michael Roberts, who is tasked with addressing illegal street racing. “We often do not have the bandwidth to address the street racer calls.”

In Denver, police have deployed a helicopter to track races, closed lanes often used by racers and sent officers to places where racers meet. On April 3, a mother was killed when a street racer broadsided her car in downtown Denver.

In one of the most notorious incidents, hundreds of street racers clogged a stretch of interstate in nearby Aurora on March 7 while they raced and cruised. Police warned other motorists to stay away amid reports of guns being brandished and fireworks going off.

The events have given more urgency to a long-standing effort by the Colorado State Patrol to lure street racers to a safer environment. The agency’s “Take it to the Track” program features weekly contests at Bandimere Speedway, in the foothills west of Denver.

“You can bring out whatever you have, be it a supercar or mom’s minivan, grandpa’s Buick,” Trooper Josh Lewis said at the racetrack last week. “And you can race a cop, and do so legally.”

Lewis then beat a Toyota SUV on the quarter-mile track, reaching 88 mph (142 kph) in his Dodge Charger.

Ray Propes, 58, started street racing when he was 16 but now prefers Bandimere Speedway for its traction and safety.

“You don’t have to worry about accidents, animals, kids, birds, anything,” he said.

———

Associated Press reporters Thomas Peipert in Denver; Maria Villeneuve in Albany, New York; Emily Wagster in Jackson, Mississippi; Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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Wall Street is pondering ugly outcomes for sky-high tech shares


Heightened inflation fears are threatening to do something to computer and software makers that hasn’t happened in two decades: make them the worst stocks in the market.

They haven’t, however, made them anything close to cheap. With a three-week drubbing of the Nasdaq 100 Index showing no signs of easing up, a few analysts are asking what happens if super-high valuations in companies like Google’s parent Alphabet and Facebook revert and drag everything back to average levels?

You almost don’t want to know the answer.

Tech stocks have powered the US sharemarket. But what if we see valuations receding from here?Credit:Bloomberg

According to Leuthold Group, the S&P 500 Index is at risk of falling 37 per cent should its multiples to sales and earnings return to their mean levels since 1995, a starting point picked to capture a broad upward shift in valuations.

The tech giants known as the FAAMGs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet’s Google) could face a similar fate, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s Gina Martin Adams and Michael Casper. In their model, the group’s premium over the market could shrink by another 24 per cent if it goes back to the mean over the seven years before the 2020 pandemic.

To be sure, these calculations are more exercises than predictions, intended to show how stretched prices have become after years of relentless tech gains. Valuations like those explain the market’s hair-trigger volatility lately, as every economic report is combed for its implications on Federal Reserve policy.

It’s a reason Leuthold’s core portfolio this week trimmed its equity holdings by 3 percentage points to 55 per cent.

“With our cap-weighted S&P 500 valuation work looking nearly as extreme as it did at the tech bubble peak, we certainly could have elected to take even more chips off the table,” said Doug Ramsey, Leuthold’s chief investment officer, adding that the firm refrained from turning more bearish because more stocks were participating in the latest advance.

The anxiety created by stretched valuations is on display all over. As surging commodity prices and a tightening US labour market sparked concern inflation could persist and force the Federal Reserve to roll back its stimulus sooner than expected, richly-valued technology stocks sold off, driving the Nasdaq 100 toward its worst month since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

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$10.5m funding to reopen Ballarat rail crossing where train crash closed Lydiard Street


Ballarat’s replica heritage Lydiard Street gates are set to go, with the state government announcing a new fully automated level crossing system will be installed by mid-next year.

The crossing, next to Ballarat train station, has been closed for almost 12 months after a runaway train crashed through the wooden gates — replicas of those from the 1800s — in May last year.

During a visit to Ballarat, Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said the $10.5 million investment would go towards a temporary “half-boom barrier crossing” that would allow the road to reopen within six months.

A new system will be built by mid-2022.

Mr Carroll said work would begin immediately on the temporary solution so the road could be reopened as soon as possible — hopefully by September or October. 

“We know Lydiard Street is a very important historical precinct, not only for here in Ballarat but essentially the whole Victorian railway,” he said. 

“It goes back to the 1860s, but unfortunately too a lot of the signalling and operation goes back to the 1860s as well.”

Currently, the gate system is operated manually from Melbourne.

Mr Carroll said while preserving heritage was important, the old-style gates culd not be replaced and a new system must be built.

“Safety needs to come first and foremost but we’re equally mindful of the heritage of Ballarat — that’s why I’m very pleased to say we have engaged heritage consultants.”

“We’re working very hard to ensure that those gates still remain part of the Ballarat precinct and feel incorporated and that the community can still pay homage to that unique system that’s operated here for so long.”

Ballarat City councillor Samantha McIntosh said it  had taken the state government too long to come up with a temporary solution.

“It’s a shame that this interim solution couldn’t have happened a year ago. It’s been a dreadful shame that our community hasn’t had access to Lydiard Street.”

Cr McIntosh said she was “very disappointed” the state government was walking away from integrating the old-style gates into the new system.

“Our community want the gates protected, they want to see the gates operating in some form,” she said.

“The issue was about the fault of the train, not the fault of the gates. I certainly believe over the time the focus has been shifted to be on the gates — not for the right reasons.”

Nick Foa from the Department of Transport said the old gates, which took two minutes to open and had to be monitored via CCTV in Melbourne, were responsible for 60 per cent of delays on the Ballarat line.

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New by-election woe for Keir Starmer as ex-Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin wins race to be West Yorkshire mayor meaning she will have to QUIT as Labour MP for Batley & Spen



Sir Keir Starmer faces the potential of more by-election woe after one of his MPs secured a mayoral seat.

Labour MP Tracy Brabin tonight made history by being elected as the first ever West Yorkshire mayor – and the first female metro mayor in England.

But it means Ms Brabin, a former Coronation Street star, will now have to step down from her Westminster seat of Batley and Spen.

This will spark a fresh by-election in the marginal constituency – a key Conservative target.

It comes just days after Labour’s humiliating by-election defeat in Hartlepool.

The constituency, part of Labour’s ‘Red Wall’, turned blue in Thursday’s by-election as it was won by the Conservatives for the first time in the seat’s 47-year history. 

And there will be likely be fear among Labour’s top table of another defeat when voters in Batley and Spen go to the ballot boxes. 

Labour had a 4,000 majority in Hartlepool from the 2019 election. But in a historic by-election win for the Tories on Thursday, the party won the seat by almost 7,000 votes.

Labour holds a 3,500 majority in Ms Brabin’s seat of Batley and Spen – a West Yorkshire seat in the heart of the Pennines. 

The seat has been held by Labour since 1997, including from 2014 by MP Jo Cox – who was murdered in 2015 by a far-right knifeman.

Ms Brabin was elected to the seat in 2016 with a 16,000 majority, after major parties chose not to contest the seat in the wake of Ms Cox’s death.

Far-right groups such as the BNP and the National Front did run candidates, but neither achieved more than 600 votes. 

Ms Brabin’s majority was cut to 8,000 when the major parties did run candidates against her in the 2017 General Election, and to 3,500 in 2019. 

Before 1997, the seat was held by Conservative MP Elizabeth Peacock from its formation in 1983. 

It comes as Sir Keir’s make-or-break reshuffle looks to be in danger of stalling today as Labour MPs openly brand him a ‘coward’ and threaten a leadership challenge in the wake of disastrous Super Thursday elections.

Sir Keir ignored questions from reporters as he was driven away from his north London home, with the 24 hours looking critical for his chances of saving his shattered leadership.

Deborah Mattinson, a pollster for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has been appointed as his new strategy director in a bid to stabilise the party after the Tories inflicted more hammer blows to the Red Wall.

But despite being closeted away with aides for the whole day, there is little sense that announcements are imminent, as they seemingly struggle to decide what to do next.

There is fury among left-wingers and moderates after it emerged last night that Angela Rayner has been effectively sacked as party chair, with claims the Ashton-under-Lyne MP is being made to carry the can for Sir Keir’s mistakes. 

Ms Rayner was elected as party deputy leader separately to Sir Keir, meaning he cannot axe her entirely – with even his normal supporters conceding it was a ‘bad idea’.

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Massive street parties erupt in Spain as nation celebrates lifting of six-month national curfew – while hotel owners push for inclusion on UK’s ‘green list’



Spaniards have celebrated the end of a six-month national night-time Covid curfew with raucous New Years Eve-style early hours’ street parties. 

Large groups of revellers chanted ‘Freedom’ and sang songs as they unleashed their emotions and boozed on take-out alcohol after the threat of fines of more than £500 was lifted. 

There were reports of clashes between partygoers and police in some parts of Madrid as officers tried to dissolve large gatherings of people without face masks on. 

The surreal scenes, dubbed today by local media as a New Year’s Eve night in May, came 48 hours after Spain’s popular Brit holiday destinations were hit with the hammer blow of failing to make the UK’s ‘green list’. 

The bizarre end to a six-month Spanish government-imposed state of alarm which provided the legal framework for restrictions including the night-time curfew, meant millions of Spaniards had to be indoors by 11pm on Saturday but were free to go out at midnight. 

Many youngsters in Spain’s two largest cities Barcelona and Madrid are said to have carried on partying anyway as they counted down the 60 minutes to the recovery of their freedom of movement. 

The end of the state of alarm has given rise to a confusing situation in Spain in which Covid restrictions vary wildly between regions. 

Restrictions on movement around the country have been lifted, meaning the Costa resorts currently deprived of British tourists can welcome back holidaymakers from across the country.  

The night-time curfew has been lifted in most parts of Spain including its most populated region Andalucia which covers the Costa del Sol where restaurants can open till midnight and late-night bars and nightclubs until 2am. 

But the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community, which includes the Costa Blanca, are maintaining their night-time curfews. 

Late on Saturday night 16 people were arrested for public order offences after gathering in a city centre square in the Majorcan capital Palma as the local 11pm curfew kicked in and allegedly throwing missiles including stones at police when they were ordered to leave the area. 

Spain is hoping to make the UK’s green list in the next British government announcement on the traffic-light system at the start of June. 

Portugal and Gibraltar have been put on the green list and tourists will be able to travel there from May 17, but Spain including the Balearic and Canary Islands have been given amber status meaning quarantine on top of expensive Covid tests. 

Ibiza hotel owner Jose Antonio Llano Mari, president of the PIMEEF association of small and medium-sized business on the island and neighbouring Formentera, branded the decision a ‘massive blow.’ 

He said: ‘It’s a great disappointment. We have begun to receive cancellations. It’s been immediate.’ 

Claiming the Balearic Islands should have been treated separately from the Spanish mainland because of their lower rate of coronavirus contagion, he told newspaper Periodico de Ibiza: ‘The Spanish government and our regional government should make the British government change this decision so we’re treated as independent islands to the rest of Spain.’ 

Iago Negueruela, the Balearic Islands’ government’s tourism minister, added: ‘The decision penalises us because London is treating Spain as a country when there are many regions with much higher average contagion rates than ours.’

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EXCLUSIVE: Horrifying moment grandmother is grabbed off street by her suspected killer and forced into bush where her body was found next day – as police release image of man they want to speak to



Horrifying footage has captured the moment a woman was grabbed off the street by her suspected killer and forced towards the bush where she was later found dead.  

The body of Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, who lived in Chelmsford, Essex, was found in shrubbery near Little Heath in Romford at around 2pm on Tuesday.   

Security camera footage obtained by MailOnline captures the final moments of mother-of-two Ms Rawlings before she was bludgeoned and strangled to death.  

It comes as the Metropolitan Police released images and video this evening of a man they want to speak to in connection to the killing.

In the clip, the man is seen travelling on the 364 bus towards Dagenham at around 12.16am on Tuesday, around an hour after Ms Rawlings was last seen in the CCTV footage. 

Police said they believe the man has ‘significant information’ that could help with their ‘fast-paced investigation’. 

The CCTV of the alleged abduction, taken from a nearby house on the day before Ms Rawlings’ body was found, shows the grandmother walking on Barley Lane at 11.17pm on Monday. 

She had just left the nearby King George Hospital in Goodmayes.

Footage shows a male in dark clothing walking behind Ms Rawlings and quickening his step to catch up with her. When he reaches her, he forces his arm around hers.

She resists slightly but he forces her towards the shrubbery on a green near the busy A12. Just as they disappear from view a white car drives past.

Ms Rawlings’ body was found in the bush at 2pm on Tuesday by a man out walking his dog.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, said after releasing the latest footage of the man on the bus: ‘I would urge anyone who recognises this man to contact police immediately. 

‘We are carrying out a fast-paced investigation and I believe this man may have significant information to help us with our enquiries. If anyone sees this man, I would ask them not to approach him but to call 999.’

A post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary gave the preliminary cause of death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

The homeowner who gave MailOnline his security footage did so in order to help trace the man seen with Ms Rawlings in the minute-long clip.

He has also appealed to the driver of the white car to contact police if he has a dash cam or if he saw anything untoward as he drove past.

The homeowner has given the footage to the Metropolitan Police and believes the man was seen walking away from the area at about 11.43pm.

Ms Rawlings lived 20-miles away from Little Heath in Chelmsford, Essex.

Her devastated family yesterday left flowers by the bush where her body was found, with a message attached to one bouquet reading: ‘Mummy. I love you now, forever and always. 

‘In this s*** world you made things brighter. Forever my angel. Your Big Baby.’

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Wall Street Brokerage Goldman Sachs Lowers India’s Growth Forecast For 2021-22 To 11.1%


Wall Street brokerage Goldman Sachs has lowered its estimate for India’s economic growth to 11.1 per cent in fiscal year to March 31, 2022, as a number of cities and states announced lockdowns of varying intensities to check spread of coronavirus infections. India is suffering the world’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 cases, with deaths crossing 2.22 lakh and new cases above 3.5 lakh daily. This has led to demand for imposition of nationwide strict lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus – a move that the Modi government has so far avoided after the economic devastation last year from a similar strategy.

Instead, it has left it to the states to impose restrictions to manage the virus. Several states and cities have imposed lockdowns of varying degrees. “The intensity of the lockdown remains lower than last year,” Goldman Sachs said in a report. “Still, the impact of tighter containment policy is clearly visible in higher frequency mobility data across key India cities.” As containment policy has tightened, high frequency data — particularly on the services side — has taken a hit. The manufacturing side — as indicated by high frequency data on electricity consumption, and the stable April manufacturing PMI — has been more resilient.

Labour market indicators suggest that the daily unemployment rate has ticked up moderately in recent weeks, but the employment impact so far is much more contained than in April-June last year. “Overall, most indicators still suggest that the impact has been less severe than it was in Q2 (April-June) last year,” Goldman Sachs said.

While the lockdown impact is much less severe than last year, the recent declines in services indicators including e-way bills, mobility, rail freight and cargo traffic has led to trimming GDP estimates. “While activity is likely to rebound back quite sharply from Q3 (July-September) onwards — assuming restrictions can ease somewhat over that timeframe — the net result is to lower our FY22 real GDP growth forecast to 11.1 per cent (from 11.7 per cent previously), and our 2021 calendar year growth forecast to 9.7 per cent (from 10.5 per cent),” it said.

Goldman Sachs is not the first brokerage which has downgraded the GDP growth projections. While Nomura last month downgraded projections of economic growth for the current fiscal year (April 2021 to March 2022) to 12.6 per cent from 13.5 per cent earlier, JP Morgan projects GDP growth at 11 per cent from 13 per cent earlier. UBS sees 10 per cent GDP growth, down from 11.5 per cent earlier and Citi has downgraded growth to 12 per cent.

India’s GDP growth had been on the decline even before the pandemic struck earlier last year. From a growth rate of 8.3 per cent in FY17, the GDP expansion had dipped to 6.8 per cent and 6.5 per cent in the following two years and to 4 per cent in 2019-20. In the COVID-ravaged 2020-21 fiscal (April 2020 to March 2021), the economy is projected to have contracted by up to 8 per cent.

RBI has projected FY22 GDP growth at 10.5 per cent, while IMF puts it at 12.5 per cent. The World Bank sees 2021-22 growth at 10.1 per cent. New confirmed cases are up sharply from 2 lakh a day two weeks ago. Active cases have increased to 34 lakh from 15 lakh two weeks ago. “The outbreak is broadening to other states such as Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, with Maharashtra”s share in total active cases falling to 20 per cent, from 60 per cent a couple of weeks ago,” the Goldman Sachs report said. Testing has increased and so has the daily positive rate to 21.3 per cent, from 13.1 per cent two weeks ago.

“Medical infrastructure remains under severe pressure in many large cities with acute shortages in medical oxygen, blood plasma, key drugs and hospital beds,” it said. “Government medical panel estimates suggest cases could rise to over 5,00,000 per day by mid-May.”

Goldman Sachs said there are some early signs of a peak in the rate of change of total active cases, although new cases and the positive testing rate remains very high. On the vaccine front, India has vaccinated 12.6 crore beneficiaries with the first dose and 2.73 lakh beneficiaries with the second dose (9.3 per cent of total population has received at least one dose) as of May 3.

“The vaccination pace has fallen to 23 lakh per day compared to 33 lakh a day two weeks ago, as key vaccine manufacturers highlight production delays on raw-material shortages,” it said. “However, these production delays are likely to be short-lived as the US loosened restrictions for vaccine raw material exports to India.”

Goldman Sachs said recent developments suggest that the vaccination pace could pick-up meaningfully in coming months. The government also recently expanded vaccine eligibility to allow all adults over the age of 18 from May 1. “Given these changes our healthcare analysts expect vaccine supply to improve significantly in the 2nd half of 2021,” it said. “With increased vaccine supply and a larger eligible population pool, we now expect the country to be able to vaccinate two-thirds of its entire population by Q1-2022 from Q2-2022 previously.” 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a press release)

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