In his address at the webinar organized by Indian Institute of Health Management and research (IIHMR), Jaipur on “The Effect of COVID-19 on Indian Economy: Politics and Programmatic Implications” and attended by 722 participants, Bishai, a professor at Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, suggested focusing on the health needs of the poor.
He also claimed the concern that the Covid-19 outbreak will not end until 60-70 percent of the human population is immune to the virus, as it can take between 18 and 24 months to develop a vaccine against it.
If a vaccine is developed in the next two years, it will dramatically impact the Indian economy, especially the health sector, because there will be less money and the human resource available to run the existing programs will not be enough, Bishai said.
“The immediate need is to recover small businesses after Covid-19 by ensuring that credit lending regularly reaches them from banks so that employment can be created,” he said.
Dr. Narain Sinha, professor, University of Botswana, talked about the Indian economy before Covid-19, the current situation and the economy after Covid-19. His absolute focus was on the issue of migrant work as they are most important to the Indian economy.
“During lockdown, 92.5 percent of workers have lost 1 to 4 weeks of work. Therefore, the government should implement immediate policies according to local demographic, social and economic structure, ”he said.
Ujwal Thakar, former bank director, ex-CEO, Pratham India and board member, Educate India, said that Covid-19 has forced the entire system to think about the biggest disaster, ie. poverty.
“The tragedy that has made us realize that a very large proportion of daily workers in the country became very vulnerable in the wake of the pandemic. We need to focus on migrant workers to get immediate employment in their own villages, which could help boost rural economies and sustainable livelihoods for the poor, ”he said.
Author Tamal Bandyopadyay, Chartered Accountant, MSME Consultant and IIM Visiting Faculty, Hema Krishnamurthy, IIHMR President and Dean P. R Sodani and IIHMR University Faculty of Health Economics and Finance, Monika Chaudhary were others who attended the webinar.