Bikky Khosla | 14 Apr, 2020
We are all witness to the devastation the Coronavirus
is having on humankind. Just three months ago, the world was brimming with all
kinds of activities, and now it is on a standstill. The entire humanity is
struggling and it seems that fear has
spread to every nook and corner of the planet. While globally the number of COVID-19
has crossed millions, the economic
impact of this deadly pandemic is driving billions of people
to despair. And a solution yet seems far off.
Fortunately, India, as of now, is in a far better
position than many other countries, in terms of both infection and death rates,
probably due to a well-timed lockdown. Also, the Centre has come out with a Rs 170,000-crore relief package, giving a much needed relief to the
weaker sections of the society. So far, so good. But the 21-day nationwide
lockdown, which is now extended till May 3, has taken a massive toll on the Indian
industry, which now desperately needs a fiscal stimulus to ride out the crisis.
During the last few days, demand for
sops and support measures has been raised by almost all industrial sectors. Economists
and business leaders are pitching for the same. Several industry bodies have
come out with similar suggestions. No doubt, the situation currently facing us
is unprecedented and there is not an iota of doubt that an all-out effort by the government is
now of utmost necessity to protect the domestic industry and the livelihood of millions
of workers it provides.
The MSME sector needs special
attention in this regard. Besides fiscal stimulus, what is no less important at
this crisis moment is a composite MSME policy framework to
soften the economic blow rendered to the sector. Similarly, the export sector,
which is already on the verge of losing millions of jobs, is facing extreme hardship. The
pandemic has, in fact, brought many firms, particularly MSME exporters, to the
brink of closure. In such a situation, it is clear that only a massive stimulus
can save the day for the Indian industry.
I invite your opinions.