The coronavirus hit the world in December 2019 like a hurricane. What started as a medical emergency soon turned into an economic one. No global financial crisis has ever hit humanity as hard as Covid-19. The world, therefore, was caught ill prepared when the pandemic struck. The situation, to say the least, is worse than a war. The situation in India is no different: In terms of the number of cases reported, it is second only to the United States.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.” The Covid-19 outbreak aptly justifies this expression as the world faces an unprecedented situation.
How has it affected India and the world? What are the socio-economic implications for India? How has India’s response been to the coronavirus? What is more important — life or livelihood? How can India recover from the sudden economic shock caused by the pandemic?
“Indian Economy’s Greatest Crisis” (Penguin) by noted economist Arun Kumar is an attempt to answer these and many more such questions.
It highlights the enormity of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on India. It critically examines the government’s efforts to control the disease and mitigate its adverse effects on Indian economy and society. Making a compelling argument that an economy is not like a rubber ball, which, if dropped on a hard surface, will bounce back to its original position, the author provides incisive reasons to why economic recovery will be slow and not ‘V-shaped’.
He cogently suggests that good governance, a robust public-health system, and clean and representative politics are key to bringing India’s economy back on track.
Arun Kumar studied at the Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Princeton University, the US, and taught economics at the JNU for three decades, until 2015. His areas of interest include public finance, development economics, public policy and macroeconomics. Kumar has written widely on these subjects, both in the popular press and in academic journals.
At present, he is the Malcolm S. Adiseshiah chair professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi. Some of the books authored by him include “Indian Economy Since Independence: Persisting Colonial Disruption” (2013), “Understanding the Black Economy and Black Money in India: An Enquiry into Causes, Consequences and Remedies” (2017), “Demonetization and the Black Economy” (2017) and “The Ground Scorching Tax” (2019).