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BW Businessworld

Where Is India Headed?

Do read our cover story on the economy for an interesting debate, not only on privatization and the efficacy of the stimulus package, but also on strategies to achieve that mission of a $5 trillion economy.

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People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. —John Maxwell

The second wave of the pandemic poured cold water on arduous efforts to shake away the malaise that had set in since the country came into the grips of the coronavirus. Even though some economic indicators, like GST collection, exports and a growth in GDP numbers do bring good tidings, the staggered lockdowns announced by the states and the added strain on the healthcare expenditure, are likely to push the economy back.

Data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that 73.5 lakh Indians lost their jobs in April alone. Job losses have been rampant through the pandemic as manufacturing units and many services downed their shutters in the face of an infection that refuses to be tamed. Economies across the world have adopted unprecedented strategies to cope with times when saving lives overrides the compulsions to create wealth. The Indian government too has announced a massive Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package. A year down since, we ask leading economists of the day, whether it was enough.

India, like most nations around the world, finds itself in that Catch 22 situation, when finance ministers are compelled to spend (both on healthcare and on tactics to incentivize investment and production) notwithstanding the withering away of revenue and other resources. A bold privatization proposal has been announced to rein in the fiscal deficit that threatens to balloon over the years, as the government is compelled to borrow more. The privatization of white elephants in the government’s stable like Air India and BPCL are on the cards.

Many believe that other government assets like public sector banks and defence production facilities too could have been put on the block, particularly since most of them are loss-making and a drain on the government. We pick the minds of policymakers and economists on the subject and find a divided house. Do read our cover story on the economy for an interesting debate, not only on privatization and the efficacy of the stimulus package, but also on strategies to achieve that mission of a $5 trillion economy.

Our other cover feature is an exclusive BW Businessworld property, the Women Entrepreneurship Summit & Awards (WESA). This annual feature celebrates and recognises outstanding women entrepreneurs, who have not only shattered the glass ceiling, but also brought about innovation through their path breaking ideas, to create a positive change in India’s business ecosystem.

We hope you enjoy reading the magazine just as much as we did in putting it together. Happy Reading !