The year 2020 is not going to be good for the global economy due to Corona induced lockdown. IMF has already released its forecast and predicted that the global economy will shrink by 3 per cent, with European nations and the United States dragging the growth. Various sectors, right from manufacturing to tourism and hospitality have been destroyed due to the lockdown and the companies around the world are filing for bankruptcy. Amid the global gloom, India and China relatively remain the bright spot. The Indian economy is expected to grow by 1.9 per cent while that of China is at 1.2 per cent in 2020.
The relatively better performance of the Indian economy is due to above-average performance in the agriculture sector. The Rabi season has gone well and the farmers expected record harvest this year. As the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the public weather forecaster of the country has predicted that the country would receive normal monsoon this year, the Kharif crop is also expected to be good. And therefore, the Agriculture sector is expected to be the saviour of the Indian economy in this gloomy year.
The Modi government has decided to open up the agriculture sector from April 20, and it is expected that it will not be a hit much due to the month-long lockdown. “Agriculture growth will get impacted a bit but not a lot. Farm produce has been robust this year and we are trying for complete procurement and ensuring that farmers get their due price. Procurement is happening at MSP. There is no question of farmers not getting their due,” said Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar in an interview with Economic Times.
Agriculture is expected to be the saviour of Indian economy with 3 per cent growth- highest among three major sectors. “Agriculture growth rate this year will be intact,” said Ramesh Chand, a member in government think-tank NITI Aayog. “In fact, agriculture will be a big support to an otherwise sagging economy.”
The performance of Agriculture will not only improve headline numbers of Indian economic growth but also save lives and livelihoods of many. More than half of the country’s total families depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and with 3 per cent growth; they would be on a safer side. The section of the society which is dependent on agriculture is most vulnerable as most of these people have meagre income, only to support basic needs. Had the agriculture performed badly, the government would have been serious trouble given the fact it had to support the livelihood of these people. And the agricultural sector’s performance has also made Indian the fastest-growing major economy in the world in a year when the global economy is predicted to shrink by 3 per cent.
“Agriculture services and manufacturing of essential goods would continue to drive GDP growth amidst the lockdown while absence of key service sectors could have a bearing on GDP growth,” said CARE’s Ratings, a rating agency, in a note Wednesday.
Thus, the Indian economy, which has been driven primarily by service sector since the decade of economic liberalization, has once again become dependent on the farmers of the country to sail it through the corona pandemic.