Viewpoint: The socioeconomic impact of coronavirus

09 MAR,2020 | MEDC


 

The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in China becoming the epicentre of global health and economic uncertainty. Serious diseases endemic to a large region ending up as epidemics or pandemics are becoming increasingly more common. This worrisome trend can be attributed to a range of interrelated factors, including global mobility, interaction between humans, animal hosts, and disease vectors, mutating viruses and environmental change. Climate change compounds and complicates their effects significantly. The costs and risks surrounding serious diseases emanating from developing countries have been studied, but their widespread economic fallout on international trade and global supply chains has not. For India, the global disruptions to travel and trade immediately point to several opportunities and challenges. Opportunities arise mostly as a consequence of the evolving structural need for diversification of global supply chains. From the economic perspective, Covid-19 could indeed be a blessing in disguise for us, as from auto parts to textiles and steel to consumer goods, it is a unique opportunity to showcase our ability to Make in India. Of course, India first needs to put its infrastructure in place and seriously examine its own record on contracts. Unfortunately, both the public and private sectors seem to display a rather cavalier approach to the sanctity of contracts and appear willing to take their chances with a judiciary whose reputation for efficiency at the local level remains weak. This attitude has to change if we are to capitalize on the current global chaos and ensure that Make in India does not remain just a slogan, but transforms into a real opportunity that helps to encourage entrepreneurship and pulls our economy out of the current mess it is in. Changing deeply ingrained ways of thinking is certainly not easy, but it is something that we have to do, and soon, if we are to convert a crisis into an opportunity.

*Photo Credit: Google

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