Has the lockdown truly prevented COVID-19 from gripping India – or has the ‘cure’ been worse than the disease? Stories from the ground suggest that the livelihoods of millions of Indians have been harmed, perhaps irreparably, with no coherent policy framework for their revival.
Posts published in “Economy”
Despite two decades of fast-paced growth, millions of Indians still live in abject poverty and the promise of economic reform is yet to come. Here is a new-age blueprint for an intelligent market economy that works for Indians of all classes and sets India on a path of equitable and sustainable growth.
The coronavirus lockdown has reinforced the merits of a basic income scheme. But apart from alleviating distress, the replacement of wasteful subsidies by a basic income scheme would even be financially prudent. It would make economic reform more viable and the public sector more efficient.
Across the world, countries have been forced to sacrifice economic activity to contain the spread of coronavirus. In India, lockdowns and restrictions will have an adverse impact across a range of issues, from NPAs in the banking sector, to trade in the chemical sector.
The working middle class in the West faced difficulties due to globalisation. But unlike in the West, the rise of right-wing populism in India does not have an economic rationale. Instead, it actively sabotages the economic openness which has worked well for India in the past.
The basic principle of trade is that a country exports in sectors where it has a comparative advantage while importing in sectors where it does not. But in the Indian economy, only a minority of the workforce is engaged in activities where India is competitive.
A key driver of unemployment is the chasm between industry and educational institutions. The method of teaching and examination employed across universities in India remains largely primitive and bookish, failing to fulfil the current needs of the industry.