Billionaire Gautam Adani on Wednesday exuded confidence that the Indian economy would bounce back from the downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, saying it might take time but it is possible.
International agencies from the World Bank to IMF have projected that the Indian economy will grow at its slowest pace since the 1991 economic reforms.
“Global economic history is full of major ups and downs. India’s domestic economy has always stood as a great shield in protecting the country from global economic headwinds.
“I have no doubts that the nation will be able to rise above this crisis. It might take time but there is ample optimism to show that it is possible,” he wrote in a blog on Linkedin.
The outbreak of pandemic has led to the government imposing a nationwide lockdown that has shut factories and businesses, suspended rail and air travel and restricted movement of people and goods. The result is a severe disruption in the economy.
While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected economic growth of 1.9 per cent in 2020-21, the World Bank sees India’s growth at 1.5- 2.8 per cent as the coronavirus outbreak severely disrupts the economy.
The Asian Development Bank sees India’s GDP growth slipping to 4 per cent in the current fiscal, while S&P Global Ratings has further slashed its economic growth forecast for the country to 3.5 per cent from a previous downgrade of 5.2 per cent.
Fitch Ratings puts its estimate for India’s growth at 2 per cent in FY21, while Moody’s Investors Service has slashed its estimate of India’s GDP growth during 2020 calendar year to 2.5 per cent, from an earlier estimate of 5.3 per cent.
“However alarming the post-Coronavirus world might seem to appear, it does not pull me down. Instead, by looking around I get great hope and confidence to bounce back,” Adani wrote in the blog titled ‘How COVID-19 helped rediscover hope and goodness’.
The coronavirus, he said, can restrict movement but it cannot contain the urge to fight and help each other. “It cannot stop us from being positive about the future,” he said. “Together, let us stay resilient and hopeful.”
Adani, who heads the port-to-energy conglomerate Adani Group, said rising global concern on the vast implications of the COVID-19 outbreak on future is obvious with anxieties mounting on economies, jobs and the very existence of mankind.
“However, amidst the gloom, there are several small discoveries that are worth cherishing,” he said as he went on to cite new discoveries that have brought a ray of hope.
He cited MyLab Discovery Solutions, a small startup in Pune, becoming the first Indian firm to produce indigenous coronovirus testing kits.
“What is even more inspiring is the story of Minal Dakhave Bhonsale, the virologist who headed this project,” he said adding she managed to deliver the project amid an advanced stage of pregnancy. The project was completed a day before she delivered a baby girl.
“Hundreds of such incredible stories that demonstrate resilience, hope, and power of the human spirit are unfolding around us every day,” he said.
Continuing to cite examples of innovation, he said a team of engineers at Adani Port in Vizag created a sanitized water shower in just about 4 hours.
“Difficult times bring us closer and make us stronger to face any eventuality. We must be able to look around ourselves and find these narratives,” he said.
Stating that he had come across several inspiring narratives on social media, he said several families from different sections of the society have invested their lockdown time in aggregating essentials for the underprivileged.
These are common people leading humble lives but what makes them extraordinary is their intent to care for others. “Domestic helps, daily wage earners and scores of people who earn their living by doing odd-jobs are being looked after, not just by governments, large corporations or charitable organisations, but by common people living around them,” he wrote. “There are also virtual groups of animal lovers who are feeding strays and ensuring that they find safe shelter.”
Similarly, a civil service aspirant, Naveen MS in Chitradurga district of Karnataka took up the responsibility of creating awareness and dispelling myths on corona virus among rural communities.
“What was most admirable was his vision. He thought that for the economy to resurrect it was essential that people’s minds stay healthy,” he said. “In fact, I feel gratified to see the community outreach work being delivered by young volunteers at the Adani Foundation. Over the past three weeks, millions settled in the remote corners of the country have been touched and empowered to stay safe against the COVID19 outbreak.”
He said this collective goodness and love for each other hadn’t erupted suddenly but it was always there within. “The COVID19 crisis has only presented an opportunity for us to reflect upon this feeling of compassion and worked as a trigger to unite people.”