February 24, 2024

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E-Conclave: What India can learn from China’s Covid-19 experience to revive economy

The Covid-19 pandemic that originated in China and has decimated economies across the world may have some lessons for India.

In an exclusive conversation with India Today as part of the E-Conclave Jump Start Series, top executives and industry leaders discussed the economic crisis triggered by the novel coronavirus outbreak and how India can turn this crisis into an opportunity.

With countries across the world planning to move their supply chains out of China over Covid-19 fears, India stands to benefit.

Speaking on how to capitalise on this trend, former Country Head HSBC and former FICCI president Naina Lal Kidwai said that India needs to substitute Chinese imports with domestic manufacturing.

“Our market is an important market. Let’s look at substituting import from China with manufacturing in India,” she said.

“Today we don’t know which countries are going to put export barriers going forward. Trade flows will be affected. We can’t build our hopes on new exports and supply chains right away. At a minimum, we can get manufacturing that doesn’t rely on exported items and feeds the Indian market such as toys, furniture, small goods etc,” she added.

According to Kidwai, another lesson the Chinese experience of coronavirus holds for India is quickly normalcy returned to the Covid-19 epicentre Wuhan.

“Another thing to learn from China is how quickly Wuhan bounced back. We need to learn from those mechanisms. If industry experts suggest it will take 9-12 months for India bounce back, it is not bad. We need to think if can we jumpstart economy so that we can reduce this 9-12 month period?” she asked.

While Wuhan was able to resume functioning due to an ironclad three-month lockdown, things in India have not been so smooth. On Monday, as new relaxations for Lockdown 3.0 kicked in, many people were seen flooding liquor shops, risking an increase in spread.

In such a scenario, will it possible for India to resume work as quickly as China did?

Answering the query, Dr Sangita Reddy, Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals Group and President of FICCI said, “In the Indian context, media needs to spread the message that for the next 12 months while shops may open and work resumes, wearing a mask is a matter of saving your own life. We have to educate people to live with this and move on.”

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