NL Conversation: Shankkar Aiyar on India's poor public services, and the economic costs of the pandemic

The author of The Gated Republic explains how this crisis will affect the country’s political and socioeconomic structures.

ByNL Team
NL Conversation: Shankkar Aiyar on India's poor public services, and the economic costs of the pandemic
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Shankkar Aiyar is a journalist, columnist and author with wide experience and deep expertise as a political economy analyst. His books include Accidental India: A History of the Nation’s Passage through Crisis and Change, Aadhaar: A Biometric History of India’s 12-Digit Revolution and, most recently, The Gated Republic: India's Public Policy Failures and Private Solutions published by HarperCollins India.

In this interview with Mehraj D Lone, Aiyar talks about how the coronavirus pandemic will impact the lives of Indians, especially its poor and marginalised communities, and how it will alter the country’s political and socioeconomic structures.

How well India tides over the economic coronavirus outbreak will depend on “a large number of variables”, he argues. “The primary variables are how the government will deal with debt, how it deals with income support, what kind of funding will help kickstart the economy, and what happens to global growth." Crucially, it’ll also depend to a large extent on how America recovers from the pandemic.

Aiyar explains how the country can balance the health costs of the coronavirus pandemic with its economic fallout. “You don't have to wait for the eventuality to decide what you want to do,” he advises. “First assess where we are.”

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Also Read : Why India doesn’t seem to care about its poor even during a pandemic
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