By Lalit Garg
The economies of not only India but of the world have collapsed due to the Corona epidemic. After the lockdown in India, the state of the economy has not only deteriorated, but has gone into the abyss. The GDP data for the first quarter of the current financial year, released recently, has left no room for any complacency. Everyone knew that the figures would be declining but the decline of 23.9 per cent, hardly anyone would have thought. Certainly the government figures and figures of the world’s major rating agencies are serious, worrying and intimidating. But we are not the only economy to witness a decline in GDP. Few and far more, but almost all the countries of the world are experiencing a significant decline in the growth rate. Experts say that the reason behind the poor figures in India is that the nationwide lockdown has been in force for more than 68 days during this quarter, in which all economic activities came to a standstill. The agricultural sector alone remained free from it. The result is that while all the sectors are showing a decline, the agriculture sector has registered an increase.
Whether it is domestic or foreign ratings or the recent government figures, the bottom line is that it is not easy to bring the economy back on track. Things will improve in the coming quarters; its prospects are not seen far and wide. Apart from this, the role of foreign investors is a big factor in the stock market. Almost all of the countries in the world are facing terrible recession at this time. But the Indian economy has been struggling for the last two years. In such a situation, the global rating agencies are not expecting a quick recovery in the Indian economy. The twenty-four percent decline in GDP in India may be more after the organized sector figures. The unorganized sector is the backbone of the Indian economy, but unfortunately it is the sector that is facing the worst recession today. The economic balance of the common man has deteriorated as small traders stop trading, there’s job loss, earnings have stopped, and the number of withdrawals from provident funds and savings schemes for daily expenses has increased. The price of gold breaking records and going to highs indicates financial insecurity and economic imbalance. To overcome these situations of economic imbalance and insecurity, the Narendra Modi government is making extensive efforts, making new announcements and implementing economic policies, which are making it even more complicated to see the possibilities of light among the blind.
There may be disagreement among the rating agencies about the improvement in the economic growth figures in the coming years, but all are unanimous that the government has no magic lamp to deal with the situation. When full lockdown was introduced in India, it was estimated that the decline in GDP would be eighteen to twenty percent. But the fall of twenty-four percent means that everything has come to a standstill in these three-four months. This caused a huge decline in the income of companies and loss of employment of crores of people. This is the most complex and frightening situation, for which the government is not getting the expected effect of its decisions. But the ray of hope that the rating agencies are seeing will have to wait for a long time.
The question is how much growth of the agricultural sector alone will be able to support the economy. The second question related to this is what can be the condition to recover from this terrible decline. The sources to find the answer to both these questions are reflected in the five factors as agreed by the Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das. These include agriculture, infrastructure, alternative energy, and information and communication technology. He identified startups as spots that have the potential to save the Indian economy from drowning despite the current economic challenges and threats. With which our economic speed and aspiration flight will be given a faster pace.
Exploring these possibilities requires extensive reforms in the agricultural sector, but the rural-based economy also needs to be strengthened, so that their growth does not wither away in the shadow of the uncontrolled outbreak of Corona. The main priority of RBI should be to save the banking system of the country, because if a big crisis starts here, then no possibility will be lost. In such a situation, unlike the sly, cunning, deceitful and incompetent businessmen, many real entrepreneurs too may be forced to raise their hands about the repayment of loan due to lack of business. Its signs are coming from many sides. Control of these conditions is also necessary.
According to economic experts, to make the Indian economy healthy, it is necessary that we make positive efforts to bring our banks and non-banking financial institutions back on track. In the last several years, the situation of large debt sinking has destroyed our banking system. Some big businessmen have gone abroad with huge loans from banks, some have been declared bankrupt or are approaching it. Despite the strictness and all government efforts, the recovery of loan remains a dream, which is a major obstacle to bring the economy back on track. The monopoly of public sector banks or insurance companies, used for the help and growth of business houses, may present a golden picture of economic development, but in terms of democratic values, economic tension, violence and imbalance are the major cause. Which hurts social consciousness or justice? In order to remove this big discrepancy and irony, in the economic policies of Narendra Modi, there are ventures to give loans to small traders, agriculture and rural industries and encourage start-ups. But Modi’s economic policies will not be given momentum without controlling the economic corruption of banks. The search for economic decisions inclusive of democratic elements is no less difficult.
Due to the Corona epidemic and its growing outbreak, the economy has been shaken, economic life has come to a standstill. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation with the announcement of 20 lakh crore schemes so that the market becomes alive, the industry becomes energized, trade increases, new possibilities in agriculture are given, and rural economic schemes are strengthened so that India’s economy comes back on track. But on the other hand, Corona has also made the whole society weak. The gap between the common citizens and the affluent section has deepened, the poverty of the poor has increased, and the rich have been able to maintain their richness, the middle class has been killed. Corona has only given tears to the poor and deprived of life despite giving money to the rich. There is a rapid expectation of balanced economic growth amidst these critical conditions. Continuous continuation of Modi’s economic policies and procedures make the struggle for change simple, practical, it is the primary expectation of a self-reliant India. There is also a need to guarantee the work and wages of laborers and employees and to build confidence in them that their jobs will remain intact. If most of the offices-factories-business activities are stopped from closing, then the contraction of the market will not drag much and India will survive the long recession. Obviously, the economic crisis is huge, but there is also a good thing that the rays of light have not stopped showing from the other end of the tunnel, the light will reach the rating agencies of the world and their estimates will also change.
(Lalit Garg is a Journalist, columnist, writer and member of Rajbhasha samiti, Ministry of Home Affairs. He can be reached at email@example.com)