India is now truly in the grips of the coronavirus crisis and a shortage of facilities, equipment, and logistics.
The country has reported 660 positive cases till today (March 25) following a spike, with seven dead. As it moved deeper into a state of lockdown, the markets again reflected the state of affairs
“Trading in the country’s equity markets was halted on March 23 for 45 minutes after the benchmark BSE Sensex hit its 10% lower circuit level”
Trading in the country’s equity markets was halted on (March 23) for 45 minutes after the benchmark BSE Sensex hit its 10% lower circuit level. At the time of publishing, the index was down nearly 3,600 points—12% lower than yesterday’s closing. The Nifty50 index of the National Stock Exchange, too, was down over 1,000 points, or 11.6%, since yesterday.
The industry has taken a pause, too. Automobiles is in a virtual shutdown: Maruti, India’s largest carmaker, has closed its Gurugram plant; Hero MotoCorp has halted operations the world over. Other companies that have shut down include Mahindra & Mahindra, Honda, and MG Motor India.
Banks have decided to operate with limited staff from today, providing only essentials services, including cash deposits and withdrawals, clearing of cheques, remittances, and government transactions.
Watch and jewellery maker Titan has pulled down shutters, too.
As this article is being published, India is in a precarious position, with the ground situation changing every hour, as it trying it best to contain the phase-2 of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic. Given the huge population of India, the low permeability and uneven spread of healthcare systems and the logistical impossibility for India to enforce mass quarantine, it would require a huge collective effort to tackle this challenge. Although India has somehow miraculously delayed the onset of the first stage, the future looks uncertain on where the pandemic will lead India to.
In the meanwhile, there have been global disruptions on account of this pandemic and India has had its fair share of the disruptions. We need to see this disruption into two phases, first with the epicentre in China and the other in Europe.
India’s growth slowed to a near seven-year low of 4.7% in October-December 2019 on continued slump in manufacturing, and now faces the next big challenge of Coronavirus outbreak stifling global growth. And the economy of China—the epicentre of the initial infection—now faces much weaker growth as the spread of the virus has hit both production and exports. The Indian Government has, in line with various international governments, readied a financial support package to tackle the aftermaths of this pandemic, however it is premature to estimate the effects of this package.