Monday, March 8, 2021

Economic issues

It is a fact that in modern times the most crucial institution, in fact the mother of all institutions, is the state itself. It covers all the functions of a collective, and makes the foundation of modern day international system. One of the crucial functions of a state is to maintain a balance among different sections of the society and distribute the available resources in a just and efficient way. The state that does it is a successful one, and the one that fails to do it, loses validity in the eyes of the people. The natural and logical extension of the same function is to help those who for some reason are entangled in financial or other crisis. That is why states across the world announce packages and schemes for those sections of the society that are hit by some man-made or natural catastrophe. In all such circumstances, people expect the state functionaries to come to their rescue. In fact, in a modern day state the policies and schemes of a government, if it is not related to security, is mostly focused on financial welfare of the people. The whole idea of development is rooted in creating ease for people, and enhancing chances for earning a decent livelihood. The expansion of government functioning is also informed by the urge to create more jobs. The introduction of various schemes to create an enabling atmosphere for industries is also because government wants maximum participation in the wealth generation activities so that more people get to earn. Mega infrastructural projects are taken up to create more workdays for the labour class and pump in more money into markets to boost business activities. In a nutshell creating jobs, of whatever nature, is the prime focus on any government. And right now what one would expect is the generation of more work so that people in these tough times can have at least some thing to pin their financial hopes in. The point here is that for last one year we have had many changes at the level of laws, statutes, and also introduction of new frameworks for administration. Indeed the pandemic dealt a devastating blow to the economy at all level. Not just the macroeconomics, but even the most localized economic indicators reflect ravaging effects of this pandemic. The way people, organizations, corporate and governments were hit, is just unprecedented. The loss to economy has been colossal, to put it in a nutshell. Governments around the world had tried to inject extra doses of fiscal energy into the economies to minimize the effects of the lockdown. All governments around the world tried to do it depending upon the size and capacity of their economies. The fiscal stimuli were also directed to safeguard the livelihood at the most basic level of economic activities. That was all firefighting. Now that we are expecting an end to this pandemic as the vaccine has been rolled out, we need to think long term. If the vaccination programme unfolds well, and the desired targets are achieved, the economic activities will once again start picking up like before. Though there are dangers still lurking behind that the virus might play a spoilsport once again, the leadership at the apex level need to think about reviving the economy in a hopeful atmosphere, while remaining in a state of preparedness, in case something goes wrong. While keeping a vigil on the ongoing effects of the pandemic, now is the time to try and lift the economy in a big way. And perhaps the state budget to be presented by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio, is the most crucial instrument to do that. One can only hope that the target of reviving the confidence of markets, and bringing the economy back on rails in a big way, happens sooner than later. People who suffered during this pandemic are in need of relief, and that can only happen if the economic activities pick up, and the private sector lifts-off. It is time that the spending in the government and also at corporate level factors in the hardships faced by common people during this pandemic.