f

Herd Immunity - A Possible Solution To Revive the Stagnant Indian Economy

The outbreak of Covid-19 caused by novel coronavirus infection has shattered the economy globally and India is no exception. The virus has torn out human life in every sense true to its term hitting very-very hard to every single individual from top to bottom, nobody is spared. The million dollar question is, "How to bail out the stressed economy?" Things must get going but the greatest of the mind is finding it hard to come to a solution.

Even before the covid-19, the Indian economy was receding be it manufacturing, banking, IT, construction, tourism, retail, capital markets, MSMEs etc, resulting in drastic fall of tax revenue. To make the economy sourer, the first wave of Covid-19 hit and it did hit very hard resulting in nationwide lockdown with 4 days notice, the most severe in the world. It was "Life Over Livelihood". The lockdown drastically affected the income and consumption and resulted in sharp fall of economy at macro level.

The Indian market was left with no money with demand depression and high unemployment. The relief packages announced by the government since March-2020

Post Covid-19 first wave, when the Indian economy started to show sign of recovery, it is hit by the second wave. This time the economic downfall is going to be 'U' shape unlike the previous 'V' shape. This is because to save the economy at macro level, national lockdown is not yet announced. This time it is 'Localised' and is upto the State to decide as per the gravity of virus spread. Also the first wave of covid-19 has taught people some lessons regarding better adoption and management, work from home, online delivery, e payment etc. May be the impact of the second wave on the economy will not be as harsh as the first one, but there are several risks factors that can possibly derail the economy. Though the salaried class may not be affected but thousands of migrant labourers and daily wage labourers who returned home will definitely impact productivity in the urban economy and create unemployment problems in the rural. Some MSMEs might suffer existential crisis. Pressure will also mount on sectors like tourism, hospital, entertainment, consumer durables, aviation and real estate. Rising inflation is another factor that could upset economic growth.

Economists are worried that the cost due to the ongoing public health crisis is one of the core reasons behind the sharp rise in inflation. Again at advisory level, it is feared that the third wave of Covid-19 is inevitable and only God knows how many more wave is yet to come. Eventually, a day might come when the question of our very existence will arise.

In the present scenario, one question comes to my mind, "How long can a nation survive such socio-economic crisis?" The possible answer to all different questions lies in "Herd Immunity" But then how to vaccinate such a huge population of India? The answer lies in scaling up of vaccine production and smooth flow of vaccine. The flow of vaccine should be such that it is made available simultaneously in both Govt. hospital for free jabs and in retail shops in the market for purchasing by those who can afford to. The govt. needs to ensure that the production and supply of vaccine is smooth and it reaches every nook and corner of the country. This way, the inoculation will be really very fast and herd immunity can be achieved. This I suppose is the only way to save the economy and the nation as a whole.

Say for example, I can afford to buy vaccine but I'm still waiting for free jab because it is not available in the market at my home town. So what do I do? Is it my fault that I'm not vaccinated? There are millions of such cases in India. Again, I can also afford to buy vaccine for my maid who is indispensible for my family. I will definitely buy her a jab because I need her help day in and day out. This way most of the people who does odd jobs will also be vaccinated by their masters or bosses.

It is in this context that I fail to understand how come the thinkers and policy makers who do such great works don't understand such a simple thing. This is very simple logic; we Indian are very dependent on our helping hands. All we need is Covid-19 vaccine in the local market; the rest will be 'Magic'. Our basic dependent nature will do the magic and in no time a major chunk of India's population will be vaccinated.