BENGALURU: The Corona pandemic has jolted Karnataka’s economy into a phase of sustained shock, and the road to recovery will be long and painful, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa told TNIE. He sees the shock absorbers offered by agriculture as a source of resilience and hope, as it is largely self-driven and not dependent on an already hampered government. The lockdown came during what was already a tough economic phase, Yediyurappa admitted, during an exclusive interview with TNIE on Thursday where he focused on the grim financial position of the state.
The CM warned of a lingering inertia for at least “six months” — as his government prioritises the battle on the health front. “Maybe only some important works will be taken up and others will be postponed for another six months. After that, we can think of the other works depending on the financial condition,” Yediyurappa said. “It will take minimum six months for us to fully recover.” Yediyurappa was just into six months of his fourth stint as CM -- and had just been hitting his strides with a well-publicised visit to Davos in January — when the pandemic stopped everything in its tracks.
There were question marks on India’s overall GDP and a possible recessionary trend and joblessness stalked the landscape even before the coronavirus outbreak. Karnataka was already struggling too, especially with a controversially inadequate disbursal from the central pool. Now it has to fight the economic battle from an even tighter corner. The CM said “there is no other way” but to put on hold announcements that were made in the budget presented on March 5.
“The economic condition is not good. That is not the case only with Karnataka but with almost all the states, and even the Centre is facing the same situation. Now, once the lockdown period is completed, we will sit with experts, economists and other intellectuals to discuss how to counter the damage,” the CM said. “I am confident of our state’s economy bouncing back as agriculture is a major contributor to our revenues. We don’t have any special packages. We will have to take a re-look at our budgetary provisions,” the CM added.
To strike a balance between the economy and the need to contain the spread of the virus, the government is thinking of lifting the lockdown in a staggered manner, but the final decision will be taken after consultations with the PM on Saturday. |