Quick takes, analyses and macro-level views on all contemporary economic, financial and political events.
Nirmala Sitharaman struck the right note at the ET Awards last Saturday on growth, the government’s determination to roll out the measures announced in the budget, particularly on agriculture, macroeconomic management to prevent any recurrence of the taper tantrum of 2013, taking care of stakeholder interests while going ahead with privatisation of state-owned enterprises, on containing the pandemic, on guarding against protectionism even while selectively promoting certain domestic industries, on readiness to engage with industry to identify and maximise the overlap between its interests and the government’s goals for the economy, including foreign ecommerce companies.
The only surprise was the government not having made up its mind against extending the suspension of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code that ends on March 25. We make three suggestions to nuance the FM’s goals.
One is on increasing the supply of vaccines. Every quality production facility capable of producing any of the approved vaccines must be put to work to produce as many doses as is possible, to vaccinate not just India but the entire world. The longer the virus runs amok unchecked, the greater the probability of mutant strains emerging, calling for new vaccines.
Urge governments to buy out the intellectual property of vaccines and transfer knowhow to any vaccine producer anywhere in the world, set an example by New Delhi buying out the IP of Bharat Biotech’s vaccine. Two, urge the US to revive the nuclear deal with Iran fast, to break the Opec cartel’s chokehold on oil output: Iran can add 2.5 million barrels of crude a day.
The world does not need expensive crude to add to its growth and inflation anxieties. Three, global ecommerce firms could be persuaded to set voluntary targets for additional exports, through their channels, of micro, small and medium industry output. In recognition of such export promotion, they could be accorded mutually beneficial concessions. The move would yield positive political economy benefits.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Economic Times.