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India In 2008 v/s 2020: Coronavirus Outbreak Is Reviving Memories Of The 2008 Crisis

The 2008 Crisis (Great Recession)

Widening shadow of recession, government stimulus, plunging stock markets, and Fed interest cuts, all these activities around the world are beginning to feel a lot like 2008 again. The financial crises of 2008-2009 were the worst of its kind since the 1930’s great depression.

It started in September 2008, when many large financial firms in the US collapsed, went under conservatorship, or merged. There are a number of reasons resulting in these crises. The primary reason was deregulation in the Financial Industry. That permitted banks to engage themselves in hedge fund trading with derivatives. Then, the bank started to demand more mortgages to support the profitable sale of these derivatives. They created interest-only loans that were affordable to subprime borrowers.

Back then, economies declined in half of all countries in the world. Banks across the globe incurred huge losses; key businesses failed, millions lost their jobs, and consumer wealth declined. According to the US National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession extended over 18 months, i.e., from December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

The 2020 Crisis Due To COVID-19

The Coronavirus outbreak has raised questions that the world could end up in a much-dreaded recession. With the global economy already on the back foot due to US-China trade wars, all-around sluggishness, and more since the last couple of years, The Pandemic now has ensured big tumble this year. The UN Conference on Trade and Development said that the global growth could fall below 2% this year while Moody’s revised its global GDP project to 2.1%. A Dutch Multinational Banking and Financing Company, Rabobank, put it at 1.6%. “A global recession is now all but certain,Rabobank declared on Tuesday.

But, as most of us would be thinking that India is already in choke-hold of a recession, the fact is we are wrong. An economy is told to be in recession only if it has two-quarters of decline, i.e., growth rate below 0%. So far, India has only been in ‘Slowdown’ mode. Our growth rate, which was as high as 7-8%, is slowing down to 4%. But, are we prepared enough for the virus aftermath like we were back then in 2008?

India In 2008

The impact of the great recession on the Indian economy was less severe because of lower dependency on export markets and the fact that a considerable contribution to GDP was from domestic contribution. Since 1991, India’s trade reforms have moved towards a neutral regime for imports and exports, eschewing tax and the other incentives for exports.

The input of crises in the financial sector was primarily because of exposure to the toxic financial assets and the linkages with the money and foreign exchange markets. Indian banks had minimal exposure to the US mortgage market, and the failed and stressed international financial institutions. While export was robust until 2008 August, it declined in September and became negative from October 2008 to July 2009. The rupee also depreciated by 21.2% against the US dollar. Credit and Money markets were affected indirectly through the dynamic linkages.

Despite these developments, the macro-economical impact of the GDP, in particular, was relatively muted because of the overall strength of domestic demand in India and the predominantly domestic nature of investment financing.

India In 2020

Hospitality, Aviation, Restaurant, Tourism, and Transport Businesses are in trouble as India braces up for the third stage of the intense corona outbreak. While Indian aviation sectors projected to report losses in excess of Rs. 8200 crore, hospitality will indicate damage of around Rs. 30,000 crores in revenue in the coming quarter. The NRAI (National Restaurants Association of India) has notified that even 10-20% of job losses among its 7.3 million employees would mean up to 15 lakh unemployed.

Amidst all this, Apex Industry association CII has sought Rs. 2 lakh crore to be pumped into the Indian economy as a stimulus to ride over the COVID-19 crises. The pandemic has come at an inconvenient time for the Indian economy as our quarterly GDP growth rate is at 4.7%, a multi-year low. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, in a press conference, admitted that India is not immune to the pandemic and could face slowdowns. The pandemic has even raised questions on the economic health of the coming financial year.

The Crux

The impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak on the global economy are reviving memories of the 2008 crises, The Great Recession. While the number of cases around the world is not precise, the economic upheaval due to the outbreak will likely not be as long-lasting or damaging as the historical downturn of 2008-09.
Gus Faucher, Chief Economist of PNC Financial Services Group, said: ” A recession is not inevitable.

He added, “If we do get a recession, it is likely to be brief and much less severe than the great recession.” To support this statement, one thing is evident that the 2008 crisis resulted from years of deeply rooted weak pillars in the economy but, that’s not the case now. What we are experiencing right now is caused by something external to the economy.”It’s more like a natural disaster,” said Kathy Bostjancic, Director of US Macro Investor Services.

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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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