The coronavirus outbreak has ravaged the Indian economy and the government has a tough task on its hands as it prepares to deal with the economic repercussions post-lockdown.
In an interview with CNN-News18, Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian stressed on the need to take a flexible approach as the current situation is unlike anything seen before.
"All of us - policy makers and analysts - have to continually recalibrate as the data comes in because unlike an episode like global financial crisis, this is a health phenomenon interacting with economy," he said.
The SMEs, the growth engine of the economy, are in dire state and need special attention from the government.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Subramanian said their problems are being taken care of.
"Package is being worked on to ensure that SMEs, which are a significant contributor to employment, their fortunes don’t nosedive significantly. We are working on providing them significant liquidity and thereby taking care of their cash flow needs," he said.
On major policy decisions in the pipeline, he said: "It is a very good opportunity for us to focus on some of the reforms that are required for improving the cost of doing business. Some countries have come up with a separate Budget and other countries a stimulus package. There is enough variability in that. I care about whether the action happens in spirit."