The Economy was already in shambles and Corona has brought great relief. Everyone can blame Corona and everyone can get relief. From what is happening around the world and the few measures announced by the government and RBI its clear that all the past will have to be forgotten and we have to start afresh. The problem is going to last long. China could close down Wuhan and contain it with various measures. But we have allowed it to spread and it will take another two weeks to know the reality. If testing facilities increase, we will be able to atleast find out soon.
The Finance Minister announced a package and felt proud to say that within 36 hours of the PM’s announcement she could come out with a package. So much is detailed in papers and social media. So, I don’t have to repeat. Only thing is that Rs.1.70 Crores total does not tally with the break up as usual. She completely forgot the fishermen who are not allowed to venture into the sea. She forgot the bankers and migrant workers.
Why everyone loves Corona?
Corporates have already demanded concessions and support. All big associations like FICCI, ASSOCHAM are consulted but not the manufacturers and small industries. However, they will atleast get the crumps when government gives concession to the big corporates.
Ambani’s have already announced that they have built 100 bed hospital for COVID-19 treatment. So, the richest can go there. Ambani’s, Adani’s, Agarwals and others will get relief in all their businesses. Mukesh Ambani will get all the data which will make him richer and richer.
MSMEs have to be given support because they are the ones who create jobs and they are in a bad state after demonetization.
Everyone demands that public health investments must increase so the government has to do something. Rs.15000 Cr is nothing and private sector is not going to increase infrastructure much because the investments may not be of use after sometime. However, they are going to make huge profits in the next 6 months as the government itself says 64% of the available beds are in the private hospitals. The banks will gladly lend them also.
The traders will suffer for sometime. So, they have to be given relief which is expected. Farmers will get some relief even if they have leased out the land. They have to be given additional credit also.
The SHG women can get more credit even if they don’t have opportunity to invest and earn return.
The banks can be happy because NPA norms have to be relaxed and more directed credit will have to be given to revive the economy.
The privatization of public sector will have to slow down if not stop.
The migrant labourers, fishermen (they also migrate) and agricultural labourers are at loss. They are the most vulnerable. Hope that with media exposure they will get some relief.
The bank employees are going to be under tremendous pressure because they can’t keep social distance, they have to implement government schemes and they have to disburse more loans. The young employees are under tremendous pressure. Many of them will be single child to the parents and they are not used to this situation. They require counseling, incentives, work life balance and appreciation.
The major task of reviving the economy is going to be on the banks and financial sector and the public sector banks are going to take the lead. It is high time to debate how this issue can be addressed. Let them not be affected by Corona.
But the Govt can act now and revisit the Banking Sector Reforms and revive the economy. Love you Corona. You are a leveler. You are above caste, creed and religion.
“Economy is the art of making the most of life. The love of Economy is the root of all virtue. Economy is half the battle of life. It is not so hard to earn money as to spend it well. No economy can succeed without a high-quality workforce, particularly in the age of globalisation and technical change.” – Words to live by.
Thomas Franco is former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.