For the first time the corona virus surfaced during November-December 2019 and since then has been rocking the world crippling the entire movement of the society and economy. Irrespective of creed and colour of humans, this deadly virus is devastating the people, making life miserable. Worst affected are the marginalized communities, women and aged. Covid-19 Lockdown Impact, entire medical fraternity is struggling hard to discover vaccine to contain the virus. However, a few pharmaceutical companies are coming out with results of vaccine testing. Administering the medicine to the frontline workers and general public has become the order of the day.
The virus is reported during the last week of March 2020 in India. By the end of March, the Indian government announced a nationwide lockdown bringing the movement of people and goods and services to a grinding halt. The lockdown relaxation has been announced phase by phase, many times. Nevertheless, economic slowdown has been witnessed; stock market showing downturn; growth of manufacturing sector demonstrating contraction and service sector displaying negative growth during the first two quarters of 2020-2021. Informal sector and MSMEs have witnessed severe blow due to corona induced lockdown.
Broadly, lockdown has affected the financial sector as well. Banks are reluctant to extend credit facility to MSMEs; hesitate to announce longer period of moratorium; fear is mounting among the bankers and financial institutions; increasing non-performing assets; construction and reality sector is no way different; tourism sector is hard-hit.
In response to the economic slowdown the Government of India started launching various mitigation measures. Fortunately, farm sector showed some revival, despite the initial setbacks. The bumper harvest during kharif crop season and favourable agro-climatic conditions have made the agricultural sector to show a modest growth – a light at the end of the tunnel. Through quick and telephonic survey, on covid-19 lockdown, information are generated and an analysis has been made. As of now no comprehensive empirical investigation has been done in the Indian context on the consequences of Covid-19 in general and rural economy in particular. Against this backdrop, to capture various implications of covid-19 on agriculture and rural economy, an earnest attempt has been made and the result being this book.
In order to, both secondary and field based data have been used, wherever possible. Field visits are made to various farming systems, where different types of cropping pattern are followed. Crop-wise discussion occupies a centre stage in this book. Large magnitude of time series data have been employed for discerning the trend in growth performance of area and production of some crops. Simple growth rates, percentages and averages have been used for analysis. To make the presentation attractive, photos, figures, boxes and tables have been provided. Primary data are collected from a cross section of farmers, traders, farmers’ union personnel, scientists, officials, farm workers, livestock keepers, service providers, artisans and volunteers.
For the sake of learning and easy understanding the entire write up has been divided into four sections. Covid-19 and the broad implications on agriculture have been given in six chapters in section I. Moreover, Five chapters highlight the impact of Covid-19 on horticulture economy in the Indian sub-continent in section II. Under the section on spices and condiments III, four chapters are devoted to analyze issues pertaining to spices crops. In the last section IV, impact of Covid-19 on informal sector and related issues has been examined in six chapters. Major observations and suggestions have been provided as summary at the end. This may be useful to the researchers, planners and policy makers.
Likewise, the information and inferences drawn from the impact of covid-19 lockdown on diverse areas of rural economy are confined upto 2020. Reports are coming that there may be chain of infection by corona in coming days. Perhaps the present study may be an eye-opener for taking up many comprehensive and large scale research works across the country covering wider aspects of economy in general and rural economy in particular.