‘Consequences of COVID-19 pandemic harshest on MSMEs’
   Date :12-May-2020
 
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 Dr Deshpande,Dr S Kumari,Dr R Lobo,Anita Rao
 
Business Bureau :
 
Dr Deshpande said that the education sector has to undergo an overhaul and restructuring to enable online education and make it reach to the huge number of students 
 
In a webinar panel discussion held recently, a group of leading economists discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the Indian Economy, the opportunities and challenges. The discussion was led by Dr Vinayak Deshpande, acting Pro VC and ex Dean of Management RTMNU, Dr Surya Kumari, Professor of Economics, Indian Maritime University Chennai, Dr Radhika Lobo, Professor of Economics Christ University Bangalore and Anita Rao Entrepreneur and Faculty of Management, Nagpur University. Dr Deshpande initiated the discussion by saying the need of the hour is ‘two doctors’ - the ‘health doctor’ and the ‘economist doctor’. He said the policy reform has to concentrate on boosting foreign direct investment (FDI) and called for ‘Assemble India’ as the cry for revival.
 
He said the consequences of the pandemic was harshest on the MSMEs. Dr Deshpande said that the education sector has to undergo an overhaul and restructuring to enable online education and make it reach to the huge number of students scattered across the country. Dr Suryakumari, Professor, Indian Maritime University, Chennai, gave an overview of the education and the banking sectors. She deplored that the problem of connectivity, accessibility and capability, especially with respect to the less affluent rural children was the elephant in the room while urban areas where talking of online classes and app based coaching. Dr Radhika Lobo, spoke on the impact of Covid-19 on India’s external sector.
 
She said that India’s exports were not growing for the last five years on account of various factors including a slump in the world economy. She pointed out that there was a 9.1 percent fall in imports and a 4.8 per cent contraction in the exports in FY20 on account of the Covid-19. Although a weak rupee could help India ride over the situation in the short run, major policy changes were called for to revive India’s trade. Finally, Dr Lobo said that to attract firms from Japan, South Korea and the US to relocate from China, Central and some State Governments have already initiated efforts to make land available. However, these efforts will have to be complemented with improvements in physical, social and human capital, failing which FDI will be driven away to other competitor countries.
 
Anita Rao spoke about the effect of COVID-19 on industrial sector which has impacted all the sectors ranging from heavy industries, automobile sector, FMCG, e-commerce etc. and how this has had a cascading effect on the MSME sector and ancillary industries, resulting in inventory pile up, job loss, liquidity constraints , plunging general sentiments and liquidity crunch. She said that heavy dependence on China for component supply has sent the business into tizzy as the supply chain was affected even before the pandemic hit India.
 
The mass exodus of migrant labour has further compounded problems for industries as they face the inevitable labour shortage once the lockdown is lifted. This coupled with the stringent guidelines laid down by the Government to restart industries has sunk the industrial sector into further despair. The panel discussion was an initiative of the Department of Business Management, RTMNU. Ashmat Khan and Nikita from Department of Business Management, RTMNU, coordinated the programme.