COVID is devastating, but there are silver linings

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The globe is facing the wrath of CORVID-9 and India is no exception. We though are better off than few of the European countries and US, but country has already paid is hefty price for that.

Whole nation has come to stand still for 21 days (and may be for few more days) but curve still not flattening. The economy has plummeted steeply, and people of lower income class and daily wage earners are finding it difficult to negotiate with the situation and they are in peril.

But to recover from a crisis (no matter how big it is) in the very DNA of mankind. As an epitome, if Germany and Japan can come back to track after the total annihilation inflicted by WW-II, then no reason that whole world and India should not recover quickly.

Optimism is the way of life and though it is risky to talk about the any positives in these moments of a colossal crisis, but for sure we must look the silver linings in this crisis and gear up.

Three consolatory positives can be drawn from this crisis for India: –

Falling Crude Price

The World crisis will bring down the world’s demand for the crude oil and thus the crude price is likely to remain moderate for at least a year from now. This would a big boon for Indian economy and will help in negating the nasty CORONA effects.

In FY19, India imported around 230 Million Tonnes of crude (around 1.8 billion barrels). At average cost of around USD 60 per barrel, the total import bill was an astonishing USD 112 billion. This is close to 6% of country’s GDP.

The 21 day’s lockdown has brought down the overall crude consumption by 70% during the lockdown period. The consumption of Petrol has almost come down to zilch and same is the situation of Aviation Fuel.

Even after lockdown is lifted, it will take a while before this consumption pattern reverses to its original level. The Aviation sector will take time to recover. Concerned citizens of the nation will certainly curtail the movements in next few months to come.

Therefore, it would be fair to estimate that in FY21, the crude consumption should come down by 10-15%. Let’s take it as 12%. The current crude price is USD 27/barrel vis-à-vis USD 60 in Dec 2019.

Therefore, even a conservative approach suggests that average crude price in FY21 would at least be 15% less than FY20. The 12% drop in demand and 15% drop in price implies that the import bill would come down by 25%, which would translate to around USD 28 billion.

This huge national saving would come as a huge reprieve, considering the hit which GDP will be subjected to during FY21.

The Changing World Order

Despite the crisis, the world diplomacy is very much on. The whole crisis is set to change the current World Order to an extent. The whole world is sceptical about the overall conduct of China in its dealing of the current crisis.

The conspiracy theories are rife, which however may not have any merit in them. But for sure, China did not disclose the real perils of this deadly disease initially and by the time world came to know, the damage had already done.

After the outbreak in Wuhan, and till the time it was sealed, around 6 million people travelled in and out of Wuhan. It was enough to trigger a chain-reaction and the virus spread globally.

Italy paid a massive price for its business ties with China and so does the few other counties in Europe and USA. Seemingly, this depleted reputation of China would help in shifting global focus toward India in Asia, both commercially and politically.

Therefore, India has an opportunity use the global scepticism towards China to its advantage and recast its ties with US and European countries.

United Nation and learnt lessons

The crisis is set to bring some positive changes in the overall habits of Indians. First time, the importance of personal hygiene has been realized even by the people at the bottom of social/economic hierarchy.

The nation stands united, with all petty controversies and differences have taken the back seat. The united fight against COVID has strengthen the federal structure of governance in India.

Though Indian has a short memory but let’s hope the spirit will continue for some time. The fight against COVID-19 would help in strengthen our moribund health services, on which massive work has already started.

The people of country are hearing the terms like QUARANTINE and PPEs and benefits thereof. The social distancing, which is being exercised these days, would certainly help in inculcating discipline in our demeanour and conduct at the public places.

India need to remain positive and vie to rebound vehemently after the crisis is over. The damage of CORVID would be huge and all we can do is, to draw the positives from this crisis and move forward.

(The author is NewsMobile iJourno. Views expressed are personal)

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