India is staring at a recession as it records the worst quarterly GDP data, witnessing a long-awaited disaster. The GDP is skating on thin ice with a sharp decline of 23.9%. The quantum of contraction seems to have surprised many, but should not have. While the economic trajectory going forward will be affected by the further spread of the novel virus, the situation will be hampered. This has been caused due to a combination of disparate factors, the proximate cause being the curtailing of activities since the lockdown.
Amidst a pandemic, students are being forced to take the ‘life-changing’ JEE-NEET exams with no traces of social distancing and SOP’s. Other state-board exams are also being conducted where students are attending with their lives at risk. Every day, India is surpassing its own record of daily cases, with just 1 million cases being recorded within 14 days.
Subtle Ignorance of the government
To distract attention from the sinking economy, misleading statistics were posted online to beguile the citizens with the comparisons made with other developed countries. The problem was not with the accuracy of data but instead, the quarterly contraction of India’s GDP was being compared to the yearly contraction of the other nations. Ever since the numbers have been out, a war has been raging on social media based on infructuous claims and evidence. According to some economists, meddling with data is quite evident. Unemployment has steadily plummeted, unable to be buoyed by the government job guarantee schemes. The constant micro lockdowns have deaccelerated the normal functioning of various sectors, with small businesses and daily wage workers being affected the most. This is just the beginning, as experts fear that people will once again shift towards the agricultural sector, being the only sector that indicated a positive growth of GDP. This proves to be the steepest contraction in the last 40 years with the government not addressing the situation properly.
COVID-19 is being scapegoated without the realization that all cannot be blamed on it. In reality, India has the worst performance among the major economies. This is because of the lockdowns that had been announced out of nowhere, without any preparation or warning. As the migrant workers struggled to reach their villages, no health precautions or social distancing measures were being taken, with the government not taking adequate measures to face the problem. India had a fair share of brutal and long lockdowns without compensatory spending on behalf of the authorities. With the virus spiraling out of control, the decline is expected to persist even with the unlocking of the economy. The only ray of hope visible at the end of the long road is that the government realizes the problem and cognize the people to be aware of the ongoing setback.