Dr Kanhaiyya Ahuja
Dr Kanhaiyya Ahuja

Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh): A national virtual seminar on “Indian Economy’s Navigation through Pandemic” was organised by Internal Quality Assurance Cell and post-graduate department in economics of Government Girls’ Post-Graduate College under World Bank, MPHEQIP on Monday.

Dr Kanhaiyya Ahuja, professor of economics, School of Economics, DAVV, Indore was the invited speaker. He said that the two waves of COVID-19 have intensified the inequalities prevalent in Indian economy and distorted the population composition in the employment sector further putting a question mark on India’s development model. The peculiar feature of this slowdown of economy resulting from the pandemic is that it was marked by both demand constraints and supply bottlenecks.

Dr Ahuja said, the loss of jobs in the first wave could not be recovered fully and the shocking outcome was that there was a severe downward mobility in the employment market as post first wave lockdown labour share in GDP reduced by 5 percent; major chunk of population in formal sector had to settle down for informal sector jobs and migration fell by 10 percent indicating employment compromise. He said that the second wave hit rural areas badly and the saving which could be culminated into demand was consumed on health and essentials and now vaccination and government spending are the two measures to repair the economy.

The second speaker Dr SK Mishra, head, SoS in Economics, Vikram University commented on the impact of pandemic on the informal economy which suffers the most in any crisis due to high rate of poverty, unorganized nature. He said that the farmers, vendors and hawkers who were the face of this pandemic and pulled it through suffered the blow of a repeated wave. This pandemic severely affected the manufacturing and the services sector—hospitality, tours and travels, healthcare, retail, women, MSMEs, migrant labourers and daily wage earners. Provision of Social Security net, health care, employment and income security can help this sector, he said.

The thirds speaker Arvind Porwal, vice-president, All India Bank Officers’ Association remarked that the pandemic and lockdown resulted in unemployment and poverty which coupled with high inflation resulted in weak consumer sentiment and the falling demand. COVID-19 increased the gender gap, digital divide, class inequality. He stated that Atmanirbhar package mainly consisted of credit package and less of much needed relief package and that the liquidity package offered by RBI was not availed by banks recording historically low credit growth. A broader direct fiscal support and food security are urgently needed, he said.

Principal Dr Anita Manchandia in her presidential address said that the double attack of the virus made the choice of life and livelihood very complex and the economy was disrupted by the pandemic on all fronts and no section was left untouched. The thematic background was given by IQAC coordinator Dr Neeta Tapan. Welcome address was given by Dr Nancy Chauhan. The programme was conducted by Dr VK Gupta and vote of thanks was given by Dr Hemant Gahlot. Technical support was given by Vivek Dubey.

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