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What The Corona Outbreak Is Doing To India’s Already Suffering Economy

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The coronavirus pandemic is creating a serious impact on the global economy, an economic recession may happen across the world in 2020.

A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development has forecast that the global economy may see an impact of $1-2 trillion in 2020.  The Economic Times in its report stated that its potential impact on the Indian economy is not yet known. Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan also said, “We cannot be sure of the full impact of coronavirus on Indian economy at the moment.” But the several sectors are already feeling the pain.  The indications are clearly seen in the fall of Sensex & Nifty points as Indian stocks suffer worst days in recent history.

India’s growth rate was under pressure even before the threat of outbreak arrived. Once one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, its growth slowed to 4.7% last year – the slowest in six years. GDP growth for the current quarter, estimated at 4.3%, is seen dropping to sub 4% levels in the coming three-month period.  According to CII, GDP could fall below 5% in FY 2021 if policy action is not taken urgently.

As LiveMint reports, The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said: “There was a strong hope of (economic recovery) in the last quarter of the current fiscal. However, the coronavirus epidemic has made the recovery extremely difficult in the near to medium term.”

As FICCI showed in its survey, 53% of Indian businesses have indicated a marked impact of COVID-19 on business operations.

On the other hand, a report by Business Standard’s says that unemployment was at a 45-year high last year. The industrial output from the eight-core sectors at the end of last year fell by 5.2% – the worst in 14 years. Small businesses had only just begun to recover from the controversial 2016 currency ban. Now, experts say the coronavirus outbreak is likely to further cripple the already frail economy.

India has a large informal industrial sector, some experts have estimated that India’s informal sectors account for roughly 94% of total employment in the country and contribute about 45% of output. The lockdown has turned all the workers to unemployed within a day. In a goodwill note, the finance minister of India, Nirmala Sitaraman said that no one will stay in hungry during this crisis. Krishnamurthy Subramanian, chief economic advisor to the Indian government added that India is working on a set of policy measures to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus and that may include some cash transfers to workers in the informal sector.

As per reports, India’s agriculture industry contributes nearly $265bn to GDP. The lockdown is causing major trouble to the farmers and making them even more vulnerable.

However, the government says it will give farmers 2,000 rupees ($30) in April as an advance payment from an $80 annual pay-out to tide over the situation. If supply chains don’t work properly, a lot of food will be wasted and lead to massive losses for Indian farmers.

The lockdown also affects the Indian aviation industry. Since India has suspended domestic and international flights until mid-April, the shutdown is also bound to push India’s fast-growing aviation industry into peril. This crisis is occurring at a time when airline companies are facing troubles for the falling value of the Rupee against the Dollar. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has assessed that the Indian aviation industry will suffer losses worth nearly $4bn this year.

Inside of Airplane
The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has assessed that the Indian aviation industry will suffer losses worth nearly $4bn this year.

The nationwide lockdown is also affecting the hospitality and tourism industries. The govt of India has suspended all visas for at least a month. Domestic tourism has also been suspended. Therefore, hotels and restaurant chains across the country are empty and are likely to remain so for several months, sparking worries of large-scale layoffs. It is estimated that the loss to the tourism industry will be 15,000 crore (US$2.1 billion) for March and April alone.

As per the Anarock Property Consultants predictions, India will face an annual decline of 25-35% in home sales (top seven cities) in 2020 due to the Covid19 outbreaks.

The automobile industry, a key indicator of a country’s economic growth, which has been in trouble for a long time is seeing its worst hits of downsizing. Experts are estimating losses of nearly $2bn. Similarly, the e-commerce sector has also been badly affected.

So, the question we need to ask – Is India’s relief package enough? Experts say that India needs a larger stimulus package soon to help businesses face this extraordinary crisis. Therefore, the Indian industry is seeking relief measures to aid the economy.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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