Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under increasing pressure to push for another nationwide closure in India as the overburdened health care system struggles with the devastating second wave of Covid-19.
But one member of Modi’s economic advisory board said state governments should have the final say in social constraints.
“All things considered, the current policy is to leave it to different states to take local circumstances into account and decide on a closure strategy – I think it’s a better balance,” said V. Anantha Nageswaran, the prime minister’s economic advisory board, CNBC said Tuesday. “Squawk Box Asia.”
Calls for national confinement, similar to those issued between late March and May last year, have become louder as India’s health care system snaps and patients are rejected for lack of hospital beds, medical oxygen and drugs to treat the disease. disease.
Anthony Fauci, chief adviser to the White House coronavirus, also said in an interview with ABC News on Sunday that India needs to stop to break the chains of transmission.
So far, the central government has resisted calls for closure, allowing states to step up their own localized restrictions, including closures and curfews.
Instead, the government is focusing its efforts on delivering the global support it has received, including oxygen concentrators, cylinders and power plants, as well as Remdesivir antivirals, to the affected areas. The country is also stepping up its vaccination campaign.
People 18 years of age and older are waiting to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at a vaccination center in Radha Soami Satsang run by BLK-Max Hospital on May 4, 2021 in New Delhi, India.
Hindustan Times | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
Nageswaran explained that at this point, the benefits of nationwide closure will not significantly outweigh the costs. He added that the jump in cases continues to be localized in relatively different pockets rather than at the national level.
India reported more than 300,000 cases for 20 consecutive days. On Tuesday, however, the health ministry said its data show a net decline in all active cases over a 24-hour period, the first in 61 days.
India has nearly 250,000 deaths from coronavirus.
Economic growth trajectory
Last year’s national closure tipped India off its growth trajectory and pushed the economy into a technical recession. Before the second wave of infections, the economy was slowly improving – but economists now predict that the recovery will be delayed in light of the current situation.
There is a growing possibility that localized locks are likely to continue until June or later, and given the current pace of vaccinations, any attempt to completely reopen the economy could result in a third possible wave of infections, said General Kunal Kundu, Societe Investment Bank’s economist at Generale. he said in a recent note.
According to Kundu, the bank forecasts annual real GDP growth of 9.5% in India’s fiscal year ending March 2022, which has remained below market consensus. But even this goal cannot be sustained, as it was based on the assumption that the farm would open sooner due to the rapid vaccination rate.
“With localized shutdowns until June and beyond, this poses a downside risk to our existing growth forecast. We now expect real GDP to grow by 8.5% in the current year,” Kundu said.
He added that India’s ability to track new versions will be key in preventing future waves. To do this, the country must “allocate more financial resources for genomic surveillance and vaccine research,” and ensure that all temporary Covid-19 care centers remain operational, he said.
Nageswaran added that if the Covid-19 cases in India do not peak in the next two weeks, and if they drag on to the next quarter, the country’s pre-pandemic growth trajectory until fiscal year 2022-2023 will be harder to achieve.