This would be the biggest financial stimulus of all. A rapidly declining infection rate would have an effect on the economy and kick start the service sector which accounts for 54% of the country’s GDP.
A success rate of 64%, out of 316,375 people vaccinated in two days, pending final confirmation by Indian states, showed a healthy run-rate by the authorities.
More importantly, it displayed the intent of the population to take the vaccine, despite various doubts that were being created a few months ago, to put India back in business. There is now an air of assurance and quiet optimism thanks to the dry runs and preparation undertaken by the public health authorities coupled with a decrease in the overall infection rates.
With a population of 1.3 billion administering a vaccine rollout was never going to be a walk in the park. It is a staggering task which has commenced with baby steps but will soon be stepping up in scale and momentum. The biggest incentive in the country is that the vaccines are also being offered to the public free of cost and that by itself is enviable.
While the country gears up for the announcement of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget in the near future the people would be acutely aware that the biggest financial stimulus is to take the vaccine, and apply the necessary precautions given that the psychological effect of this would inspire people to travel, eat, shop, send children to school and do business with more confidence in order to resuscitate the service sector which accounts for 54% of the country's GDP.
Rumour mongering is a factor that the authorities need to arrest effectively. There is a quiet unease in India about the choice of the indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine which has been offered by Bharat Biotech-ICMR-NIV. Truth be told, for the public it all boils down to choice and, to be fair, there have been no reports of adverse reactions for the vaccine thus far.
In retrospect, the government of prime minister Narendra Modi has led an inspired fightback not only against the pandemic but also to arrest a sliding economy and turn it around for the global community to be in awe of. The country had recorded the second highest number of coronavirus cases after the US. But when measured against the size of its population it has done far better than most other nations in fighting the pandemic thanks largely due to the proactive measures adopted by the government starting with a stringent lockdown.
And so the great Indian juggernaut rolls on despite the size of its population and socio-economic diversity. It would be fair to assume that hope is around the corner or, as prime minister Modi puts it, the country is now poised at a “decisive turning point.” The prime minister’s words and actions have been enough to inject hope among the people.