The scale of devastation brought on by the second wave of COVID-19 is indeterminable, as the current infectious strain of the virus continues to snuff out lives, upend healthcare systems, and weaken the economy.
Though the Indian government has denied the possibility of a complete nationwide lockdown, multiple states are extending curfews and existing restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
Majority of the states are allowing only essential services to operate, and requesting companies to opt for remote working, as result of which some industries like retail are already incurring massive losses. The economy is witnessing a contraction on the back of weak economic indicators in response to local restrictions.
Data from the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) testifies to this. CAIT’s research estimates that retail traders across the country have suffered business losses to the tune of Rs 3.5 lakh crore, while wholesale traders have faced losses worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
The unemployment rate in India has also taken a hit, with Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy reporting on 4 May that the second wave has left as many as 72.5 lakh people jobless in India in the month of April.
In today’s episode, we will unpack how the Indian economy is faring amid the raging second wave, how severe has the impact been compared to last year, and whether it could have been avoided.
To answer this, I spoke with Pallavi Nahata, who is the Associate Editor for Economy at BloombergQuint. You will also hear from Sonal Varma, the Chief Economist at Nomura, a leading financial holding firm, and Dr K Srinath Reddy, the President of the Public Health Foundation of India.