16 Mar 2021 21:19 IST

Rapid vaccination can accelerate economic recovery: Arun Kumar

The renowned economist emphasises on collectivity in the face of a crisis

Describing the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath as the “worst economic crisis post Independence,” economist Dr Arun Kumar, Malcolm Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, has called for “collectivity” and the need for “a rapid ramping up in the vaccination process,” to help the Indian economy recover faster from the effects of the lockdown-induced recession.

 

 

 

 

Dr Kumar shared his thoughts, while addressing students at the sixth edition of the Indian School of Business and Finance (ISBF) New Delhi, which hosted Distinguished Public Lecture Series, on the theme ‘The Impact of Coronavirus and the Lockdown on the Indian Economy,’

Sense of unity

Elaborating on his thoughts as captured in his widely acclaimed latest book Indian Economy’s Greatest Crisis: Impact of the Coronavirus and the Road Ahead, Dr Kumar said that given we had seen at least seven such virus outbreaks in the last two decades — we need to be well-prepared for the next one and for that to happen, ‘collective will’ would be imperative. Any divisiveness in society, he said, would be fatal to combat such outbreaks.

Dr Kumar also urged the Central Government to significantly ramp up the pace of vaccination in the country and prioritise vaccinating as many citizens as fast as possible, as once life was preserved, only then could the economic recovery be effective and sustainable, according to him.

Responding to a student’s question during an absorbing Q&A session after the Lecture, Dr. Kumar emphasised that the lockdown was essential to ramp-up health infrastructure in the country and also laid down immediate measures like expanding public expenditure, that were critical to resuscitate demand in the economy, a key factor according to him, in bringing about the recession.

Interactive session

Delivering a vote of thanks to conclude the session, Dr G L Tayal, Dean, ISBF, said, “It must have been really gratifying for our students as it was for me, to be enriched by your knowledge and wisdom on the COVID crisis and its impact on the Indian economy. I am sure this will help them immensely in furthering their appreciation and understanding of the scale of the crisis we are faced with.”

The ISBF Distinguished Public Lecture Series in its previous editions have hosted leading names from academia, policy and industry such as Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; Dr Pronab Sen, Former (and first) Chief Statistician of India; Dr Abhijit Sen, Former Member of the Planning Commission; and Dr Ajit Mishra, Director of Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), among others.