Home Opinion Which growth shape will India take post-COVID-19?

Which growth shape will India take post-COVID-19?

The pandemic which is currently ruining the nation's peace, economy, and changing everyone's life, we have to brace ourselves for the upcoming phases and challenges which will be created by this pandemic and ascertain the growth post corona.

Our current situation and the steps being taken to defeat the Virus

It will be an understatement to say that our world has completely changed over the last few months. The pandemic has resulted in an unfathomable loss to the global economy where unprecedented human lives were lost in the era of global peace. Not only the numerals are alarming but the speed at which various new challenges and catastrophes are emerging is very much intimidating. Governments and various healthcare professionals are persistently quantifying the response to this very pandemic and consistent strategic adjustments are being done to bring this chaotic situation under control.

Today the entire world is stuck between the infamous Lockdowns and its exhausting phases where human lives are moving irregularly and the hunt for a vaccine is on that will hopefully put an end to this mayhem of a virus. In such a grim scenario, scientists, and various government bodies are working constantly on an accelerated work mode in order to save the entire Nation.

Unprecedented economic loss

First of all, let’s understand the impact of this virus which has toppled the economic system which has led everyone to an economic crisis.

The Asian Development Bank has estimated that the global economic cost of the virus is a massive 2-4 Trillion Dollars. Damages estimated by some legal firms go to an extent of gigantic 6.5 Trillion. Back in India, the Indian economy is also being pummeled. Under complete lockdown, less than a quarter of India’s economy is functional which is said to be around 2.8 Trillion. Estimated loss is over Rs 32,000 crore (4.5 billion) every day during the very lockdown.

Enormous human cost

While the impact of Coronavirus on businesses has been devastating globally, the rate of human losses has also been jaw-dropping around the globe. In India, people who had savings and access to their respective shelter and food have managed to withstand this storm with many difficulties. However, the impact wreaked havoc on a large proportion of 40 million migrant labourers. These people who sometimes spend their complete life to provide the muscle and power to India’s construction, agriculture and various other sectors have failed to stronghold themselves in this chaotic situation which is very disturbing.

After the extension of the lockdown, in desperation to get back home, the sudden upheaval that the huge numerals of migrant workers tussled with was tragic. However, with some help delivered by the local communities and government agencies, people have managed to deal with the lockdown situation. The stories of their venture will be told over time and there will be many things to learn from their sacrifices and experiences.

Defeating COVID – 19 is the First Priority:

The main question we ask ourselves is how to tackle the effects of this COVID-19 Situation. The top priority is finding various ways and strategies to fight, neutralize and put an end to this havoc-wreaking tyrant of a virus because all the other battles can be handled once this main challenge is dealt with.

The healthcare sectors- Our main front-line

In early February, the private health sector came forward and has been working closely with the public sector to eradicate this difficult situation and bring it under control. In a fascinating development, India elevated health education and leading organization to introduce online training for COVID-19. 

Healthcare professionals from all around the globe have been signing up for these courses. E- Training can be the next game-changer in the upcoming care industries. One of the main measures that should be taken for containing and preventing this virus is testing. In all the Nations, testing has elevated quickly and more than half a million samples have been tested which is huge. In India, a total of 586 hospitals have been assigned to cater to the needs of people who are infected due to COVID-19. These hospitals with the capacity of over 100,000 isolation beds and 11,500 ICU beds reserved for the patients battling COVID-19.

Private health care hospitals are also contributing to this grave situation by providing negative pressure beds which is itself an extraordinary step for the patients battling the virus to survive. Indian Railways are contributing by changing their train compartments to serve as isolation wards. Along with all these help going around, hotel chains and corporate houses have partnered to convert their hotel rooms into isolation ward for the people suffering from this very virus and need to self-isolate themselves to be quarantined.

Telemedicine after a long time has finally found its place in the healthcare ecosystem. Further to the recent approval of guidelines by the central government, teleconsultation appeared as a blessing for the patients who need to consult with their doctors, without even have to go to the hospital physically. Digital health with its very potential can offer lower-cost care that will help millions in the time of need and can be an amazing tool to prevent communicable diseases.

Good and efficient healthcare sectors are build by the very efforts and determination of the protagonists and brave hearts of the healthcare department i.e., Doctors, Nurses, Technicians, Administration, Paramedics, and the support staff. These warriors show that no matter how grim and difficult the situation can be, every individual can rise from it. We should be hopeful that after seeing medical professionals make so many brave sacrifices, the ugly doubts and distrust in doctors, medical professionals, and the hospitals will be eradicated, forever. 

The list regarding the COVID-19 pandemic infested sector is long. To sustain and recover faster post-COVID-19 pandemic, the captains of various industries have to work and behave very upbeat about the very recovery. We must prioritize on re-booting the economy of India. Over the past few years, there has been an exponential decline in India’s GDP growth rates and the problem has been further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The economy of India is expected to deteriorate in the 1% to 2% zone next year. When the time of the crisis comes to an end which will resume the economy to run again, the first few countries to get off the starting block will be at an upper hand.

Can an industry manage to get up and start running on its own again? No, every government in the world will have to support and help their respective industries to stand up again and thrive. We, in India, will need a massive boost in terms of financial help. But we also know that the government itself has taken up some enormous thrashing as far as tax revenues and foreign revenues are concerned. Therefore, the government will have to focus on those sectors from where it can generate revenue to a higher extent quickly.

Helping India run again

Luckily, the Agricultural spine that accounts for almost 14% of our GDP can recuperate quickly, even grow well till next year but these affairs must be supported by storage and logistics. The expected normal monsoon this year can help the sector in getting back its lost momentum. Impact of COVID-19 brought horror to the world but we also should not forget the fact that unlike many geophysical disasters and wars which bring ultimate devastation upon the physical infrastructure, the industry has survived without damage. Therefore, many industries can quickly become operational with some new work culture and with resumed labour force to kick start the capital to restart its business properly.

Boost for various Sectors

The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, which contributes to 30% of India’s GDP is one of the most important sectors that drive the economy of India. Today, almost all MSMEs are out of the play due to the Lockdown, making them unable to pay the salaries of their employees and many don’t even have the adequate amount of financial resources to re-start their businesses properly. If estimated, India’s GDP slumped to 4.7% in the Q3, resulting in the lowest rate of growth over the previous five years which is a big reason to worry.

The government is contemplating a Rs 20,000 crore relief package for the sectors that need help and support to survive like the sectors mainly tourism, automobile, aviation, and real estate. These sectors will help to put people back to work and will construct some grip in the recovery of our economy. At the time being, there are not many simple strategies that will help to fix this unimaginable crisis. The most important thing that has to be done first is to send back people sound and healthy to work but for that to happen we have to provide the best possible healthcare to our citizens as there cannot be a lockdown forever.

To cater to the needs of the dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and the protection of the staff across the board, the hospitals have been contributing and investing a huge amount of money in PPEs and consumables. Our economic health and its recovery hinges upon the life of its citizens. If they are healthy and recover from this virus, maybe we will get a chance to bounce back. For that to happen our medical and health sectors should be supported generously so that it becomes capable to deliver its full potential in serving the nation in this great hour of need and crisis. 

International relations

On 26 February, India helped in sending 15 tons of masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment necessary to battle this pandemic by the India Air Force jet to China which included 100,000 masks with 75 infusion pumps, 500,000 pair of gloves and 30 internal feeding pumps to help the country fight the virus.

On March 13th, Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that SAARC nations should fight with India jointly in this time of the pandemic, an idea which was welcomed by the leader of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, which will not only help these nations but also will unite everyone to fight this battle together. On the 15th of March, after the completion of a video conference of the leaders of SAARC, they allocated Rs. 74 crore which is equivalent to 10 million dollars of funds as Covid-19 Emergency Fund for the countries of SAARC. On 4th April, The Government of India shut the export of hydroxychloroquine for domestic use which concerned the US because US imports half the supply of drugs from India. After the US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister, Modi, India continued its supply on humanitarian ground. India also delivers hydroxychloroquine to 30 other countries including Spain, Brazil, France, UK, Australia, Germany, the Gulf countries, and the SAARC neighbours.

On 11th April, after a telephonic conversation with the Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sabah Al- Khalid Al-Sabah, India sent a team consisting of 15 doctors including health care professionals to Kuwait to help them fight the virus. On 16th April, India assisted in sending 500 million paracetamol tablets and 85 million hydroxychloroquine tablets to 108 countries.

On May 10th, the Indian government led hands to assist Mauritius, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, and Maldives by sending Naval ship INS Kesari which carried medical teams, food items, and essential medicines.

What are the odds of a quick economic recovery post the COVID-19 situation?

The responses regarding this question seemed a broad-based endorsement by Modi Government’s Corona-fighting strategy. 53.8% of the participants said, a ‘well decisive leadership’ is the biggest factor on the side of India at this critical time. The rest of the responses evenly started by a proactive RBI, benign oil prices, and less political quarrel. Many people also stated that there will be a recovery but at a very tepid amount resulting in a deep recession.

What could be the best possible way to recover faster?

To this many people (53.6 %) said there will be a need for a special COVID Budget. More than 24% of the mass said tax breaks can help to ease out the situation.

Are lockdowns going to be a part of life in India from now on?

Over 30% of the survey participants believe that from now on lockdowns could become a way of life.

Life and growth post-COVID-19

Travelling by Air

  • Airports can avoid overcrowding to maximize social distancing.
  • Passengers can be asked to report 2 hours before flight timing at the airport to get scrutinized by the airport authorities whether they are carrying gloves and masks and are properly equipped to maintain their safety.
  • There can be dedicated staff with thermometers at all entry points and gates to double-check the passengers. 
  • Airport authorities can command their staff to sanitize tunnels at the airport entry points for passengers and employees.
  • Social distancing at check-in counters with markings.
  • Authorities can make sure to vacant a seat between every 2 passengers. This decision can affect the revenue generation but as they say, safety comes first.
  • They may not provide meals.
  • Passengers who have undergone hospital or home quarantine in last one month shall declare the quarantine at check-in.

Travelling by Metro

  • There can be a thermal screening at entry points.
  • Face visor/ shield to be worn by frisking and baggage-screening personnel.
  • There can be a use of the Aarogya Setu app with inbuilt e-pass features for the identification of COVID positive persons trying to travel.
  • Hand sanitizing and handwashing facilities at entry points.
  • Passengers can be asked to start queue two meters away from the security screening point.
  • A set of 2 PPEs at each station for the handling of suspected passengers or baggage.
  • The will be increased electronic and manual surveillance.

Cinemas

  • There should be some staff checking up on the people who bought a certain movie ticket for temperature checks at the entrance.
  • There should be mandatory use of masks & gloves.
  • There should be deep sanitization of all halls.
  • Social distancing means fewer tickets per screen.
  • The practice of digital transactions for tickets and F&B.

Various recovery methods can be taken post-COVID-19

V-Shaped Recovery – It is a type of recovery and economic recession that resembles a V shape in the charts and graphs which represents a sharp rise back to a previous stage after a sharp decline.

U-Shaped Recovery – It is a type of recovery and economic recession that resembles a U shape in the charts and graphs which represents economic measures such as GDP and industrial output. 

This shape is created when the economy faces a sharp decline followed by a relatively healthy rise back to its previous stage.

W-Shaped Recovery – It is a type of recovery and economic recession that resembles a W shape in the charts and graphs which represents economic measures such as GDP and industrial output. This shape is created when the economy faces a sharp decline followed by a sharp rise again followed by a sharp decline which is eventually followed by a sharp rise.

L-Shaped Recovery – It is a type of recovery and economic recession that resembles an L shape in the charts and graphs which represent a slow rate of recovery with constant unemployment and stagnant economic growth. Here the economic recession is characterized by a less steep decline in the economy but without any recovery.

Well, before talking about life which is going to be after COVID-19, there is an urgent need to talk about life which will surround us after the lockdown gets completely over. It seems very hard to get back things normal the way they were before this chaotic virus took almost everything from us. Maybe we cannot see normality for a very long time. Shops and offices will steadily limp back by everything they have got by expending all their remaining energy to survive somehow. The government has to work on some solid strategies to revive and recover an almost lifeless economy. The government and the societies have to help the landless farmers, daily wagers, and millions of migrants to again help them get back on their feet to survive who became refugees, helpless and stateless overnight.

There is no clarity left on how the brittle supply chains will be maintained, repaired, and restored when the ones who cut woods and fetch water for the cities to run are away.

How will social distancing untangle once various colleges, universities, school offices, and factories restart not with 50% staff butt in full 100% capacity? The major challenge which everyone has to deal with is the Transport mechanism.

Once the lockdown is lifted, we have to begin picking ourselves up and our splintered lives in these past few months. We have to find a way to adapt to every situation that is going to be thrown our way. We have to find ways to reconnect with our work and organize our domestic and professional lives that have been damaged by this storm of a pandemic and step out in this vastly changed world where life is not going to be the same and easy ever. Our civilization has faced many devastating catastrophes in its history which we have put behind us, we can and we will overcome again.

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