As the new financial year commences, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than eight hundred thousand people in more than 150 countries, a scourge confronting all of humanity, impacting lifestyles, businesses, economies, and the assumption of common well-being that all of us have largely taken for granted.
Even before the onset of this pandemic, the global economy was confronting turbulence on account of disruptions in trade flows and attenuated growth. The situation has now been aggravated by the demand, supply and liquidity shocks that COVID-19 has inflicted. Once the pandemic is controlled, the shape and speed of the recovery in the US and China will be key factors determining the nature and traction of global economic recovery.
It is our expectation at this time that the course of economic recovery in India will be smoother and faster than that of many other advanced countries. Indeed, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in its latest report ‘The COVID-19 shock to Developing Countries’ has predicted that major economies least exposed to recession would be China and India. While we are now focusing in India on securing the population from health hazards and on providing relief, especially to the poor, we also need to think long-term to secure the health of the economy, the viability of businesses, and the livelihoods of people. Apart from providing robust safety nets for the vulnerable, ensuring job continuity and job creation are the keys. And there is an urgent need to mobilize resources to stimulate the economy.