The Second Wave of Coronavirus Infections and Indian Economy

It is quite possible that India will touch the previous coronavirus peak of 97,860 daily new cases in a few days! The way new daily cases are being recorded for the last few weeks, it wouldn't be surprising that India may cross the one lakh mark today itself! The second wave of infections is in full swing in India despite the fact that India had successfully flattened the corona curve with less than 10,000 daily infections. What does it tell? Is this an achievement? No! Clearly, it is not. Rather we collectively as a nation have failed ourselves in the fight against COVID19 by letting our guard off. It is happening when we have already vaccinated more than 7.3 crores individuals till yesterday with more than 30 lakhs daily vaccine doses. This really poses a question if we as a nation and society have learned anything from the previous experiences? From the prevailing situation, it can comfortably be said that besides the medical professionals (low case fatality rates) and the policy makers (no knee jerk policy response), we have learned very little or nothing!

We have allowed the second wave of the coronavirus infections in India when our economy is facing one of the worst economic crises in decades. However the economy on the path of expansion and economic activities are back to pre-pandemic levels. But the private investments in the economy are low; millions of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled laborers are waiting for jobs as there is a dearth of employment opportunities because of jobless recovery and growth. Banking sector is already facing a mountain of the NPAs and expected to be hit by another storm of bad loans (NPAs) after the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) being reinstated.

At present, we are at the crossroad where the nation has to decide and choose either in the favour of human lives or the economy and unfortunately India has to choose the economy over the human lives as the economy cannot afford knee jerk reactions like nationwide lockdown and restriction due to the fear frenzy mass behavior and have to rely on the medical experiences to save the human lives that it has gained over the last one year!

Rajeev Upadhyay

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