Curves we must bend
Given the Indian economy’s need to secure a durable post-pandemic recovery, what our own policymakers should push down is the fiscal glide path we have in sight beyond this fiscal year
As far as trends go, four curves need to be bent decisively right now. While human agency can achieve all, they risk being left to fate by our neglect. First up is the seven-day rolling average of daily covid cases. A global plateau of about 400,000 is well below its 3.4 million peak in early 2022, but this is still too high for comfort. The second is global emissions of planet-warming gases. On current efforts to cap these, this upward trend is projected to bend downwards only after 2030, an indication of how late we already are in fending off the threat that pushed the “Doomsday Clock" (of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) closer to a calamitous midnight. Rising autocracy among nuclear-armed powers is the third curve that must be pushed down. Given the Indian economy’s need to secure a durable post-pandemic recovery, what our own policymakers should push down is the fiscal glide path we have in sight beyond this fiscal year. Growth fragility would make it a tough call, no doubt, but a late reversal of pandemic spending mustn’t fritter away our policy progress on inflation moderation and debt sustainability. The covid virus may have mutated, but economics hasn’t.