The Indian economy is recovering, but the pandemic must be fought harder
Data reveals that the country’s economy is turning the tide, the people must now demonstrate more awareness and take precautions to influence a huge push towards bringing down the infection rates.
According to the Indian health ministry the number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose by approximately 38,772 on Monday. This made it the third straight day that daily cases stayed below the daunting 50,000 mark.
Reuters has reported that India has around 9.43 million cases, the second highest in the world after the United States, but daily cases have been dropping since they actually hit a peak in September. The total number of deaths as of Monday was 137,139.
The time has now come for one last concerted push to arrest the rate of infection and the entire country needs to close ranks together to achieve this task.
Prime minister Narendra Modi’s government came out with a carefully crafted plan to arrest the damaging effects of the virus in the form of a nationwide lockdown. The decision saved lives by the hundreds of thousands but it came at the cost of the economy even though there was no other option as global examples have showed. In retrospect it turned out to be the right judgement taken by the government.
People need to step up
There is hope in the horizon that a vaccine will soon be developed and India will leading this breakthrough with the advantages it has at its disposal given its global reputation in the medical sector. Having undertaken a tour of the nation’s leading vaccine development and manufacturing sites last Saturday as coronavirus cases continue to soar Modi stated that, India’s role in developing vaccines was a global good and he was pleased with the rapid progress being made.
“It is India’s duty to assist other countries, including the nations in our neighbourhood, in the collective fight against the virus.” The companies are testing homegrown vaccine options, as well as working on trials of vaccines being developed overseas. But it is also India’s duty to display more awareness and take precautions to fight off the pandemic domestically and the people of the country need to follow the tried and tested solutions.
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Global interest must not waver
The economy after having been hit hard by the pandemic is now fighting its way back to make a statement of intent – India is revealing its ability and resilience to the world and this has led to a flattering interest by the global business community.
S&P Global Ratings retained its forecast of 9% contraction in India’s economy for the current fiscal even as it pegged the FY22 growth at 10%. But it added in its caveat that the fight against the pandemic should not waver.
“We retain our growth forecast of negative 9% in fiscal 2020-2021 and 10% in fiscal 2021-2022. While there are now upside risks to growth due to a faster recovery in population mobility and household spending, the pandemic is not fully under control,” it said in its report on Asia Pacific.
The virus affects the economic surge
S&P opined that it would wait for more signs that infections have stabilised or fallen, together with high-frequency activity data for the fiscal year third quarter, before changing its forecasts.
India’s economy is coming back to life – information put out last week reflected that the recovery was faster than expected in the September quarter led by a pick-up in manufacturing. The gross domestic product (GDP) shrank of 7.5% compared to an unprecedented 23.9% contraction in the June quarter. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) chipped in by stating that it expects India’s economy to contract 9.5% in FY21. As per S&P, the RBI will be constrained from cutting rates and it expects rates to start normalising upward from 2021 onwards.
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The report also highlighted that India’s industrial sector is leading and the output is now above levels from a year ago, helped by rising demand for consumer goods.
“Investment recovered faster than consumption in the fiscal second quarter, partly due to resumption of stalled projects. The private sector drove the recovery as spending resumed and households and firms moved more toward normalized activity,” it said.
Gains from reforms shouldn’t be wasted
The government has introduced a number of reforms and stimulus to thwart the impact wrought by the pandemic. While India is being seen as a beacon of economic hope and an example across the world it cannot conversely be viewed as having a poor record in fighting the pandemic. The onus for that lies with the common man, as cases of negligence and ignorance abound – specially as lockdown restrictions have been lifted and people are under the false impression that life has come back to normal again.
It is time to change that narrative.