Letters to the editor dated April 13, 2020

| Updated on April 13, 2020

Economic projections

This is with reference to the editorial ‘Reality check’ (April 13). There is no doubt that the Covid-19 outbreak has led to the MPC changing its view on the economy, thanks to the twin decline in production and consumption. Any forward-looking survey at this juncture is not pragmatic, and the MPC ought to realign its forecasts pertinent to virus-based ground realities. The fiscal slippages and the hiking consumer price inflation are red indicators. The MPC’s surveys must be frequent and periodical to gague the real state of the economy.

NR Nagarajan


Public healthcare

This refers to ‘Shift focus from hospitals to primary care’ (April 13). In the case of public care, it is essential that focus be on both the hospitals and primary care. The spread of Covid-19 can be controlled by quarantine, social distancing, etc. In the case of primary care, the people should be educated as to how the process should be conducted, especially for the uneducated people with little knowledge of hygiene and medical care.

TR Anandan


Relief operations

This refers to ‘Srinagar administration bans circulation of photos, videos of relief distribution on social media’ (thehindubusinessline.com). One tends to fully appreciate the decision of the district administration of Srinagar to ban the circulation of photos, videos of relief distribution on social media platforms, by the government agencies as well as the NGOs. Who knows, the same could be more a publicity stunt instead of being aimed at truly serving these ‘targeted’ groups?

Additionally, the district administration has also reportedly taken ‘on board’ 30 NGOs for effectively dealing with the Covid-19 situation, while regulating their operations in the wake of the declaration of 14 areas as containment zones.

Since the Rajasthan government too had taken the similar steps earlier, it’s earnestly wished that all other States/UTs too urgently ‘walk into their shoes’ for some obvious reasons.

SK Gupta

New Delhi

Trade measures

On April 11, the Department of Commerce issued a press release on assistance to exporters due to the coronavirus blockade and, reminiscent of the situation post-DeMo, we can expect endless clarifications and caveats to follow the ad hoc decision making by every department. In this case, strategies on resurrection of the economy stay flawed. When the government machinery is overwhelmed with care and prevention in a pandemic, there will be no time to micro-manage bureaucratic exercises.

In 2016, after demonetisation, liquidity was heavily strained but demand and supply of goods and services, labour and other inputs were intact. In contrast, today there is no dearth of cash and liquidity but everything else is frozen cold. The reach and magnitude of crises is far too deeper. The government ought to be thinking big with a support package in the range of ₹10-15 lakh crore, not only for the big industry, MSMEs but small business and trade, in bold pragmatism.

R Narayanan


Lockdown extension

At a time when the country continues to see a spike in Covid-19 cases, an extension of the 21-day lockdown till the end of April now appears to a very pragmatic approach. The time has come to give enough leeway to States to decide and allow economic activities, be it farming or industry, based on the ground realities prevailing within their territories. While there is no harm in easing restrictions in less-affected areas, care needs to be taken to ensure social distancing and basic hygienic norms are being followed with alacrity. As countries like China and South Korea are witnessing a fresh bout of Covid-19 cases, the message is loud and clear that lowering our guard will only spell a disaster. Besides taking steps to kick-start production to maintain supply of essential goods, we need to usher in needed measures to support the battered lives and livelihoods of poor, daily-wage earners and migrants. Forcing them to fend for themselves doesn’t augur well for our country and its economy.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

Published on April 13, 2020

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