Building Back Better: Towards a Green Recovery of the Indian Economy


Impact of COVID-19 on India’s Economic Condition

The ongoing COVID19 pandemic and containment measures have already caused a disruptive impact on India’s economy. The estimates by different agencies including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and credit rating agencies have put India’s GDP growth forecast in the negative territory of 3.2% to 6% (contraction) for the fiscal year 2020-2021, the lowest India has seen since India's economic liberalisation during 1990s. Massive challenges are being presented by abrupt shut-down of economic activities, physical distancing norms, lack of social-security safety-nets for hundreds of millions of unorganised sector and migrant workers, change in demand patterns of consumers on discretionary spending and a reverse migration of workers triggered by sudden loss of livelihoods. Under the imposed lockdown (March 25-May 31), it is estimated that less than a quarter of India's $2.94 trillion economy was functional.

Inclusive Green Recovery

Policy and investment decisions taken for economic recovery from COVID-19 will determine if future threats to humanity and economies are mitigated or amplified. The United Nations while announcing the Guiding Principles for the rollout of the UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 at country level, has included a focus on building back better and beyond the immediate needs so that the response steers recovery towards more sustainable trajectories, guided by the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

Greening of Economic Recovery

Due to the existential crisis confronting the economy, there is a possibility that national attention will be focused primarily on economic recovery running the risk of veering away from the green economy transition. However, the inclusive green economy approaches must be seen as complementing the transformational recovery for a 3 sustainable future. The economic recovery measures are also an opportunity to flatten the climate curve by aligning them with SDGs and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as part of the revival process with an understanding that the poor and vulnerable are at greater risk with deprioritization of climate and ecological concerns.

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