The unprecedented health, economic and livelihoods crises triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the failures of the neo-liberal corporate led model of economic governance across the world. In India, despite a brutal 45 day lockdown of the economy, COVID-19 cases continue to mount and newspapers are rife with reports of stranded migrant workers, millions of job losses and rising cases of hunger and malnutrition. Rather than respond to these urgent requirements, the current regime refuses to release money to state governments, invest in public healthcare and is instead further de-regulating labour and environmental laws at the behest of corporate India.
An urgent course change is required if we are to adequately deal with this pandemic and other imminent challenges in store such as the climate crisis. This panel will attempt to explore the elements of a progressive response not just to the COVID pandemic but beyond; in terms of a peoples agenda for the economy that address the multiple crises facing India today; undermining of public services, lack of decent jobs, agrarian distress, environmental degradation and most importantly the crisis of democracy where democratic institutions including the parliament and state governments are being completely sidelined.