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Impact of COVID-19 on the Indian Economy and the post COVID road

2020. The year of the coronavirus pandemic came as a shock to India. It gusted the Indian Economy and was largely disruptive when it came to the loss of human lives. With a perpetual damage to human breaths, the economic and social life of India came to a standstill. A world forever buzzing like the notifications on the phone has fallen tongue-tied with all its resources put to work in meeting the never-before-experienced crisis. The chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that, “World is faced with extraordinary uncertainty about the depth and duration of the crisis, and it was the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.”

The first lockdown in India was declared on the 25th of March 2020 for a period of twenty-one days which was three months after the detection of the first few coronavirus cases in Kerala. India, having ignored the initial signs of the virus being a worldwide pandemic rather than a mere health emergency and inspecting the spread of the virus, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially flagged ‘Social distancing’ as an effective technique to break the chain of infection. The PM, in his fifth meeting with the Chief Ministers, suggested that Indians now had to prepare for a change in the world similar to the changes that occurred after the world wars. He stressed on the new principle of life to be, “jan se jag tak” (trans. From the individual to the whole of humanity). India went into the fourth phase of the lockdown from the 17th of May to 31st of May 2020, while the doctors of the country along with other necessary service providers kept fighting against the virus. Although modifications were made in view of resuming economic activities all over the country, public places like shopping malls, swimming pools, schools, colleges, hotels, etc. remained barred.

The most affected part of the Indian Economy is the gross domestic product (GDP) which in turn disturbed various other sectors. The IMF predicted a 10.3 percent contract in the GDP of India in the coming financial year 2021 due to the rise in the COVID-19 cases. Having restricted the movement of people; crashing the share market; shutting down schools, colleges, restaurants, malls, flights, trains, factories, etc., the virus curbed the growth of the economy. Numerous sectors such as aviation, tourism, oil, MSMEs, retail, capital markets, etc. contributing to the economy of the country were destructively impacted and a steep decline was seen in the GDP of India. The essential goods market also suffered due to the lockdown and the virus as people restrained themselves from stepping out of the safety of their homes even for buying daily necessities like fruits, vegetables, toiletries, etc. It affected the principal section of the GDP which is consumption.

Due to the solitary confinement of the citizens of India, a sheer escalation was seen in the rate of unemployment. The ray of hope for occupation in the new year of 2020 and 2021 for the unwaged has been wrecked and with the employed people joining the unemployed crowd, it severed the condition of the poor because of high unemployed people and close to negligible job opportunities. Migrant laborers from metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi, etc. faced the worst consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. They lost their daily-wages jobs with no shelter on their heads. Due to the rules and regulations of the lockdown, all forms of transport services like buses, trains and aviation, had been suspended which left lakhs of poor people with no option other than walking towards their villages along with small kids carrying heavy luggage with no sign of food or water or shelter.

With the unavoidable market i