Economic Disruption In COVID Times

As the world fights the new virus, we are simultaneously fighting a larger evil, The Global Economy. Ever since the Coronavirus outbreak has spread across the world, starting in China at the end of 2019, the rate at which the virus has spread is massive, leaving millions infected and thousands of dead. The plight of fighting a new and foreign virus is a task on its own, while it has brought about various other battles for humankind to fight. This article traverses across the various economic damages of the world and how the virus has disrupted many lives causing long-term damage requiring longer recovery times. 


The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted lives around the world to an unimaginable extent. The global health crisis is the primary battle here, but the side effects are far too worse. This article aims to provide a bird’s eye view of the economic downfall across the globe and a perspective on the Indian scenario as well. As we course through this article, it is evident to note that these influences of the Coronavirus outbreak are interlinked, and it proposes an establishment of the same.

A Global Outlook

Although an exact value cannot be put on the damage to economies of the world yet, due to the continued dismay, the time to reach a stairway to escape the clutches of the virus seems to be rather long. The economists across the globe have agreed the damages are massive and may take countries years to cope, altogether.

Having lived through various epidemics and pandemics, nothing comes close to the impact of the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus- as new is the virus, the newer and extreme the challenges. Anybody living through this pandemic is possibly unaware of the consequences of the effects and aftereffects of this pandemic as this, by far, is nothing like we have seen before. It is a challenge to everyone on this planet, and with no reference to resources from the past, it has quite proposed a challenge. With millions infected and thousands of dead, the numbers are only increasing and will do so for a long time until an effective vaccine is found. Upon seeing the end of this outbreak, countries must pick up from where they left off, only with lesser resources and lower economic rates, and that is quite that challenge. The countries are at a task to find effective economic measures along with the management of available resources to find ways to regenerate reasonable economic values- which several economists have predicted to take years together to achieve.

Previous estimates suggested that major economics would see a 2.4 percent downfall in the GDP value during 2020, lowering overall economic growth to account to a sum of 2.4 percent from the earlier 3.0 percent, in the year 2020. The global GDP was estimated at $86.6 trillion, and in 2020 the drop is expected at about $3.5 trillion. The global stock markets have endured some of the major hits causing many countries with small or large economies to see sizeable lows in the market. This economic downfall could be held in proportionality to fall in demand in almost all sectors, including industries such as tourism and cross-country trade, some of the most affected. In turn, this has caused the loss of jobs as companies have laid off employees to curb expenses. The World Bank predicts that most countries are likely to face a recession in 2020, due to the largest shrink in the per capita income, globally since 1870. It says, “the crisis highlights the need for urgent action to cushion the pandemic’s health and economic consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and set the stage for lasting economies”.[1]

A forecast by the World Bank shows that economic growth shall also be impacted on a regional basis, such that East Asia and the pacific having an estimated growth of 2.7%, while South Asia contracting by 2.7%, African regions by 2.8% to 4.2%, Europe and Central Asia by 4.7% and Latin America by 7.2%, expecting to reverse years of progress and increase levels of poverty.[2] The unpreparedness of several countries was evident given that the virus spread at a much faster rate than expected and with the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a “pandemic”, it took countries unprecedented and valuable time to prepare for upcoming losses and decipher the hitch already brought about. But it is crucial to note that not many countries anticipated the effects of the pandemic to be severe. This posed a delay in ceasing air travel causing the virus to spread widely across.

Agather Demaris, the global forecasting director of the Economic Intelligence Unit predicts that most of the advanced economies shall face “zombification” of economy, similar to that of Japan’s economic downfall that involved “slow growth, low inflation, and high debt” during 1991-2001- what is called the “lost decade” in Japan’s economic history.[3]

The G20 countries have so far raised around $11 trillion in stimulus programs to provide some sort of relief to the expected global economic downfall. The public-debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise by around 140% in developed economies. The International Monetary Fund says that the Coronavirus pandemic has put the world in a “crisis like no other”, and expects global economic growth to rise by 5.8% if the outbreak chooses to dwindle down by the second half of 202- 0.

The economic unpreparedness, among others, towards the pandemic not being in place, all countries were alarmed to bring in rapid measures to protect their economies. This pandemic has forced the shutdown of various businesses, stoppage of air travel, loss of jobs, and unprecedented shutdown of cities altogether- some of these quintessential to save mankind. Nations are forced to operate under lower GDP rates, affecting all its citizens, not leaving a second option to deal with the pandemic.

Helping Hands

While the suffering due to the outbreak would end upon the arrival of a vaccine, the economic suffrage will take a long time to reach specks of stability.

Several organizations have come about and proposed various timely resources for countries to rely upon in this situation of lack of awareness and unpreparedness.

The United Nations Development Programme designed various ways to help countries formulate effective coping mechanisms. It quotes that the pandemic is “affecting societies and economics at the core” and that it is likely to “increase poverty and inequalities at a global scale”. The UNDP came up with the “UN’s framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 crisis” proposing to offer immediate development responses. It vouches to place “relevant assets in support of an immediate development response to complement the humanitarian and emergency health interventions”. It has proposed a 5-step plan to provide the required knowledge, extended support to national and regional governments and establish relationships with the private sectors and civil society establishments in order to provide help to countries. It presents a response mechanism to protect health systems as well as jobs, enterprises, and vulnerable workers of the informal sector. The UNDP aims to provide aid in developing public health preparedness and response plans to the crisis.

The world economic forum has in its, COVID Action Platform prioritizes actions to battle the economic downfall, aiming to provide specialized information to deal with the economic crises such as trade, small business support, market assessment and various other socio-economic solutions to empower the countries.

A Peek Into India’s Response Mechanism: Life v. Livelihood

India is one of the worst-hit economies of the world because of the pandemic, slacking the economic growth rate to 3.1% in the last quarter of the fiscal year 2020, as claimed by the Ministry of Statistics.[4] The existence of a pre-pandemic downfall in the economy, to which the pandemic has contributed to more painful blows, disrupting the functioning of the country to the extent of compromising on essential disaster management techniques.

The World Bank states that the pandemic has “magnified pre-existing risks to India’s economic outlook”. It has also rated that the country is seeing its lowest figures ever since the economic liberalization during the 90s.

The stock market recorded its worst losses in history on the 23rd of March, but surprisingly its highest gain in 11 years just two days later, on the 25th of March 2020. CRISIL, a share market analytical company, in the month of May reported that this pandemic period would perhaps be India’s worst recession since the time of its independence. [5]

During the period of complete lockdown in March, the country’s economic activity crashed from 82.9% to 44.7%, and a total of 53% of businesses were predicted to be affected. But luckily post lockdown, in the month of September the economic activity had risen to pre-lockdown values.

The informal sectors and daily wage workers are facing the utmost threats and risks. Major companies such as BHEL, Ultratech cement, Aditya Birla group, and many more have suspended and reduced operations significantly, causing huge loss of jobs. Young start-ups are also impacted because of less or no funding, driving them out of business.

Taking worst economic hits in the first phase of the country-wide lockdown, the decision was to be made if the virus is to be contained or if there is a need for uplifting the economy that needs more attention. Although quite a difficult decision to make, the Government of India chose to reinstate economic activities across the country to save what is left of the economy and at a later stage, revive it as well. Indian billionaire NR Narayana Murthy said that “if the lockdown continues, India may see more deaths due to hunger than from the pandemic”.

This decision of the Government was frowned upon by many people as it looked like the Government was readily jeopardizing the lives of its citizens. Many believed the lockdown ought to be extended, even if it meant a longer time to revive the economic status.

The damage caused to India was amplified due to the pre-pandemic adversaries in the economy and has reached a point where no amount of damage control, however effective, would save the economy in a shorter period.

But luckily, for India, various aides have been formulated internally to make this agony a little less unbearable. The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, in April, proposed measures to tackle the economic impact and provided Rs. 50,000 Crore as special finance to NABARD, SIDBI and NHB.[6] To protect Indian companies from being taken over by foreign companies, India changed its Foreign Direct Investment policies, provided monetary aid to farmers, and changed a few of the taxing policies to increase funds in the country. Salaries of various sectors were cut down and many employees lost jobs to create a balance with the cost cuttings, rising the rate of unemployment in the country to 23.5% in the month of April. Some of the most suffered include the migrant workers- leaving them nowhere to go because of the cessation of jobs and no travel facilities, and lack of government supervision. The UNCTAD said that “In the case of India, the baseline scenario is a sharp recession in 2020 as strict lockdown measures to stem the virus’ spread brought many productive activities to a halt across the country”, and is likely to traverse into a permanent loss of income. [7]


With newer and innovative policies in hand, the Indian economy is expected to revive sooner. The contribution comes from cutting short the lockdown period to facilitate trade across the country, and major employment drives to increase employment, bringing the unemployment rate to a record low of 6.70%. But a steady revival is set to happen only at the onset of a longer time span and at a slower rate. The country has brought into force newer economic reforms in the form of policies, decreasing imports giving chance to domestic production companies and to be cost-effective, and the passing of the National Educational Policy, 2020, aiming at strengthening the economy- much of these were subjected to criticism.

On a global outlook, various organizations are joining hands to bring about sustainable economic growth and development models to help revive economies of the world. Organizations such as the UNDP, IMF, World Bank, International Labour Organization, and many more, are formulating helpful informational services for countries to use to recover from this stumbling block. Countries shall have to, to a larger extent, work of limited resources, effective cost-cutting measures, and creation of employment at lower GDP and other economic values, to raise capital levels and revive the economy.


The world has come to a standstill- many countries under lockdown, many not; a plethora of industries going out of business, driving countries to the brink of recessions and the unending invasion of a virus. The effects are predicted to be a long-term burden on the countries including an increase in poverty and hunger, economic dislocations hindering growth, an increase in unemployment rates, collectively affecting the productivity of the countries. The world seems to be in one of its worst crises to date, and the damage is far more than that meets the eye. The global health crisis that we are in, deaths and damages are daily news. The countries are facing more problems than anticipated and getting help from each other seems to be the only option. The loss of lives is a large disadvantage, but the downfall of economies and circulation of funds, lesser GDPs, are only some to point.

But with the right knowledge and effective help, hope is restored, and so can be economies.

It is a rocky road for all the countries, but it seems to be the only way.


1. What Is The Importance Of Building The Economy Of A Country?

Economic development acts as a creator of jobs, booming of businesses, strengthening of industries, better collection of revenue resulting in increased GDP, GNP and various other economic values of a country based on which the quality of life in a country is assessed. And it poses special importance after this pandemic has passed and has left the countries at their lowest lows. 

2. What Can Be Done In The Case Of Another Pandemic?

Unlike the mechanisms used to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the expansive lack of knowledge, it is safe to say that due to technological advancements these events are documented and future generations can make effective use of it to deal with further life-threatening events.


Economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in India-,to%20the%20Ministry%20of%20Statistics.&text=On%2026%20May%2C%20CRISIL%20announced,India’s%20worst%20recession%20since%20independence.

A UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19-

Socio-economic impact of Cocid-19-

The post-Covid “zombification” of advanced economies is here to stay-

Covid Action Platform- World Economic Forum

Impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy- Statistics and Facts

The global economic outlook during the COVID-19 pandemic: A changed world

Coronavirus: A visual guide to the economic impact

[1] COVID-19 to Plunge Global Economy into Worst Recession since World War II- World Bank Press Release on June 08, 2020

[2] World Bank Says Global Economy To Shrink By 5.2% In 2020 Due To Pandemic, Published June 09, 2020-

[3] The post- Covid ‘zombification’ of advanced economies is here to stay, EIU warns- Published OCT 28 2020-

[4] Covid-19 impact: India GDP growth slows to 3.1% in March quarter- 29 May 2020,

[5] India facing its worst recession in current fiscal, says Crisil, May 27, 2020 –

[6] RBI to provide Rs 50,000-crore refinance facility to AIFIs, April 18, 2020,

[7] Economic contraction may lead to permanent income loss in India; GDP may shrink 5.9% in 2020: UN body, Sep 23, 2020-

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