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For sustained economic growth, India needs to aggressively vaccinate its people

Covid 19 vaccination drive key for economic growth

India, which has posted an impressive 20.1 per cent in the April to June quarter of the current financial year despite a brutal second wave of Covid 19, has to keep its focus on averting another Covid 19 wave and keep up the aggressive vaccination drive. Besides, this will be crucial for India as it aims to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025 amid rapid global political and economic shifts.

Just when private investments have started picking up with near normal economic activities, the country — the fastest growing major economy in the world– cannot afford to have another setback.

As the agriculture and allied sectors grew by 4.5 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent in the first quarter of the previous year and 3.1 per cent in preceding quarter, one thing is clear: the rural sector has not been dampened by the pandemic, even as many feared that the disruption during the second wave had an impact on the farm sector. “This sector remains unscathed from the pandemic and continues to perform well,” the State Bank of India in its report said.

Also read: India's economy surges by 20.1% aided by low base

The country’s policymakers will also be happy with the industry, one of the worst affected sectors during the pandemic, bouncing back with a 46.6 per cent growth driven by 49.6 per cent growth in manufacturing and 68.3 per cent growth in construction. Now the next target is to stick to the disinvestment targets.

Covid 19 vaccination drive picks up

The good news is that India administered over 1.3 crore of Covid 19 vaccine doses on Tuesday—the highest for the country. In the month of August, more than 18.6 crore doses have been administered.

All eyes are on health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who took charge of the ministry less than two months ago. While India managed to clock one crore vaccinations in a day – second time in a week, the 49 year old minister has no time to be complacent.  He came in at a time, when the country was still in the grip of a severe second wave. Overall India has administered 64.5 crore of vaccines. However, only 14.8 crore — less than 11 per cent of the total population, are fully vaccinated. 

“We are rushing against time and the number has to increase,” said an insider.

Mandaviya will have to ensure that the majority of Indians are fully vaccinated by the end of the year. “He is a very well experienced person and is focused on his job,” the insider told India Narrative. Former South Korean Ambassador to India Shin Bongkil, just before leaving New Delhi said that the Covid 19 pandemic showcased India as the next investment destination.

Also read: More vaccines being rushed to states for school teachers to pave way for starting classes

Sources said that several foreign companies are keen on investing in India.

But economic activities are currently dependent on the health ministry.

India’s GDP at constant prices (2011-12) during the April-June quarter stood at Rs 32.38 lakh crore — lower than the Rs 35.66 lakh crore in the first quarter of 2019-20. This shows that India is yet not back to the pre-pandemic levels.

“However, this is not a concern, if we manage to remain focused on the vaccination drive and avert another wave, we should be there in no time,” another analyst said.