ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Export-induced Loss in Employment and Earnings during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented exogenous shock in the world economy unlike the global financial crisis in 2008, which was endogenously determined in the structure of capitalist financial market. Given the fact that Indian export sector significantly contributes to the Indian economy in general and employment in particular, it is worth examining how the Indian gross domestic product and exports changed in comparison with the world GDP and world exports respectively, in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–21 vis-à-vis the GFC in 2008. Which industries are affected the most, in terms of export loss, during this COVID-19 crisis? What have been the consequences of these falling export on employment and earnings in the Indian export sector? This study estimates that in the COVID-19 year 2020–21, Indian exports have fallen by `3.74 lakh crore, with a plausible loss of direct employment by 5.06 lakh and an estimated loss of earnings around `12.4 thousand crore across 85 commodities.

The Pandemic and Its Discontents in India

India and the Pandemic: The First Year, Essays from The India Forum by The India Forum, 2021; Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan; pp xvii + 335, ` 695.

National Lockdown and COVID-19 Containment in India

What impact the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown has had on the spread of the virus in Class 1 cities of India is discussed using an interrupted time series model. Four variants of the susceptible–infected–recovered models are used to develop a counterfactual, which are compared with actual data. The analysis reveals that the lockdown has reduced the number of COVID-19 cases by 23.65 million–33.77 million and averted approximately 0.001 million–0.010 million deaths. At the regional level, it has prevented a major health crisis as existing intensive care unit and ventilator facilities for critically ill patients would have been inadequate.

Using Public Procurement Strategically

The article examines policy decisions and practices in public procurement in India during the pandemic, and finds that bureaucracy could not use public procurement strategically and relied upon archaic and centralised management of procurement to (mis)handle the pandemic. The article also offers some lessons from China’s procurement designs and calls for a major reform in this sector in India.

COVID-19 Vaccine Accessibility

The patent waiver procedure at the World Trade Organization needs to be fast-tracked. The global community must not be constrained by the interests of private industry and saving lives is what matters.

Our Domestic Chores

Poorly paid and with no employment benefits, female domestic workers are becoming the sole breadwinners of their families.

Of Denial and Data

A national lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020. This saw a humanitarian crisis unfold, that included deaths directly caused by the lockdown. The Indian government has been in denial about these deaths. In this article, we attempt to gather data on the human costs of the lockdown. Using media reports, we collected data on these deaths that highlights the devasting consequences of a harsh and sudden lockdown on the vulnerable sections, and underscores the need for strong social security efforts.

Crisis behind Closed Doors

The impact of the national lockdown due to COVID-19 on domestic workers in New Delhi and Gurugram is examined. Through extensive surveys with members of three labour unions, it was found that not only were domestic workers able to find less work, but were also paid lower wages, while unable to access government schemes or financial or in-kind support from their employers. This points to a dire need for policies that protect domestic workers’ interests.

Impact of Lockdown Relief Measures on Informal Enterprises and Workers

Much has been said and written about the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the Indian economy, the stimulus packages announced by the Government of India and the sad plight of the migrant workers. This article brings into focus segments of the economy that constitute the bottom of the labour hierarchy, namely microenterprises, construction workers, street vendors and domestic workers. Will the relief measure help refigure their livelihoods after the lockdown is lifted?

How Did Agri-start-ups Fare during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Although agricultural start-ups in India took a hit due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, they have enormous potential in aiding economic recovery. A survey of 162 start-ups from 29 states, located in 98 cities, reveals that many start-ups have tailored their products, modified their technologies and invested in their long-term growth potential, even as they suffered from liquidity crunch, lack of investor funds and poor demand. The government should provide capital access, market access support and end-to-end solutions for innovation and marketing towards harnessing the power of these start-ups.

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