Tuesday, 9 August, 2022
HomeThoughtShotCOVID-19 leads to 'paranoia', 'gloomy' economy & questions for governments

COVID-19 leads to ‘paranoia’, ‘gloomy’ economy & questions for governments

Today’s political, economic & strategic punditry from Abheek Barua, M.K. Narayanan, Syed Ata Hasnain & many others.

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No apocalypse now

Shah Alam Khan | Professor of orthopaedics, AIIMS, New Delhi
The Indian Express

Khan comments on the rising cases of coronavirus outbreak and the hysteria around it. He says “threat from coronavirus is real”, “but responses to it are bordering on paranoia.” He argues that “our national consciousness should be equally sensitive to diseases like tuberculosis and malnutrition, which kill more people than all the influenza pandemics put together.”

Broken into chain stores

Abheek Barua | Chief economist, HDFC
The Economic Times

Barua writes that the coronavirus will likely cause a “sharp slowdown” in the global economy, but how long the “gloom” will last beyond this year will depend on two factors. First, “the containment of infection” and second, how quickly the global value chain recovers, he explains.

Coronavirus and the Mandate of Heaven

Ravi Bhoothalingam | Treasurer and honorary fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, and an independent director on corporate boards
Business Standard

Bhoothalingam discusses the Mandate of Heaven, an ancient Chinese doctrine “to confer on an emperor the legitimacy to rule over his people”. The coronavirus pandemic, however, shows how the doctrine “speaks of the universal nature of governance” that may prompt citizens across the world to question their governments at five levels — early detection and isolation of infections, containment, public health system, risk management strategies and cooperation of the general population.

Delhi’s shame is India’s shame

M.K. Narayanan | Former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal
The Hindu

Narayanan comments on the Delhi riots and argues that “sometimes the police are taken unawares, but this time the police had ample warning, from their own accumulation of day-to-day information and presumably from central intelligence agencies as well”. He says “political interference with actions being dictated by political considerations” is what made the Delhi police ineffective. He warns that “it would be unfortunate that through a combination of factors, including unwarranted interference in its role and activities, India’s law and order showpiece, the Delhi police, is portrayed as inefficient and ineffective, even to deal with a mundane communal riot”

Afghanistan’s Kashmir fallout: How will likely US withdrawal from Afghanistan impact J&K’s security situation?

Syed Ata Hasnain | Retired Lieutenant General in the Indian Army.
The Times of India

Hasnain comments on the “potential impact any deterioration of the Afghan situation posed to security in J&K”. He states “the common perception is that if the withdrawal of foreign forces takes place as per agreement and Taliban returns to power, a large number of Taliban fighters will be available to Pakistan’s ISI to recruit and induct into J&K.” He argues that “one thing that even Pakistan’s deep state will acknowledge is that the situation in J&K is not even remotely akin to 1989-90” and the Indian army is not stretched from Sri Lanka to North east to Punjab as it was back then. He warns that “security will always be under control but it’s the non-military measures which have to receive impetus even in the face of fresh challenge.”

It’s not a peace deal

Christophe Jaffrelot | Senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris and professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at King’s India Institute
The Indian Express

Jaffrelot comments on the US-Taliban peace deal and argues that the war doesn’t end here and the deal “puts the onus of ending the bloodshed on Asian forces”. He says that in the “short run, India may be forced to get more involved in the Afghan affairs” to prevent its infrastructural investments in Afghanistan from being seized. He examines US President Trump’s statement in which he said that it is “time for someone else to do that work (fighting terrorists) and it will be the Taliban and it could be surrounding countries” and says “implications would be more than regional for India.”

Is the worst really over for the country’s agricultural sector?

Himanshu | Associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and visiting fellow at the Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi

With wage growth and farmer incomes on the decline, Himanshu points out that the “worst of the rural slowdown is far from over”. This is despite official GDP data and nation accounts claiming that India witnessed “robust agricultural growth” during Modi’s first term. To decode this disconnect, he breaks down the national accounts to look at trends across agricultural sub-sectors. He notes that recent “price pressures” and the government’s “massive” foodgrain stocks may slow procurement of farm produce and lower price realizations, particularly cereals but also other crops.

The ABC of AT-1 bond crisis

Sudarshan Sen | A former executive director, RBI
Business Standard

Sen criticises investors in the additional tier 1 (AT-1) capital bonds that are upset with the draft reconstruction scheme for Yes Bank. Sen explains that they are “crying foul” that their shares are being written down. He points out that AT-1 bonds by design have “bailed in” provisions and investors should have been fully aware of these risks beforehand. “It is hoped that the courts and the regulator will give short shrift to their unreasonable demands,” he concludes.

Today’s Editorials 

The Indian Express: On Home Minister Amit Shah’s speech in Parliament on Delhi riots, the daily notes that given the Modi government’s track record on dealing with dissent, Shah’s promise of booking those guilty of riots seems disquieting. Shah’s promise to ‘not spare anyone from any side’ will be tested by the quality of justice to those who have suffered, writes

The Times of India: In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the emphasis must be on social distancing, public health authorities must increase screening and testing and keep awarding citizens to follow hygiene practices. Screening and testing of vulnerable persons, tracing of patients’ contacts, and monitoring of home quarantined individuals are critical for India to prevent a large-scale outbreak. The leadership roles must be well defined to keep foot soldiers focused and motivated, writes TOI.

With inputs from Unnati Sharma

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