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Turning Covid-19 Crisis Into Environment And Economic Opportunities

Outbreak of COVID-19 and imposition if world wide lockdown has resulted into mayhem in global markets. The pandemic is turning into an unprecedented International crisis, with serious repercussions on people's health as well as economic activities. But there are always silver linings to the dark clouds. No doubt, crisis brings with it many difficulties but it will also create opportunities and foundations for better tomorrow. It has been always seen that the major world upheavals in the past be ut World war 2 or Ebola or AIDS pandemic have always brought societies together and has generated opportunities which lead to a positive change in the world economy.

Though What's next for India?  is a looming question gripping the country but we have reason to believe that there's light aplenty at the end of this tunnel. India could emerge as a global leader if it plays its cards well right now. Moreovee many positive changes are seen in the environment as well. This essay aims to focus and analyze the opportunities that are created by COVID-19 pandemic fir people and how will it help the environment and economy to flourish. It depicts that though the pandemic has sweeping global impact but it will provide with tremendous opportunities that will provide us with lasting lessons and opportunities for positive change.

Introduction
The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19 has become The fifth documented pandemics since the 1918 flu pandemic.First case of virus was documented in Wuhan, Hubei province China in December 2019 and it has now been confirmed in six continents and in more than hundred countries.The appearance of COVID-19 pandemic turned ourfamiliar world upside down within a span of barely a few months.

The pandemic is the black swan event of our generation and the worldwide containment effort to halt the spread of COVID-19 has far reaching impact on both world as well as local community. It has led tomass scientific conference cancellations, travel restrictions, social distancing and other unprecedented prevention measures like lockdown which has forced the whole world to stop and remain locked up to curb its spread. Stressing everyone in the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political effects that will leave deep and long standing scars.

The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of dark aspects. Around the world, people are losing their lives, schools are closed, healthcare system is overloaded, pink slips are being issued to employees, stock markets collapsed, governments of almost every nation is tussling and the countries have to spend hefty amount to curb the spread and to arrange for medical aid. And fir everyone who is directly been infected or not, COVID-19 is a huge stressor shaking up psyche, triggering fears and uncertainties.[1]

No matter how serious, gloomy and unanticipated,this pandemic seems but there are silver linings to the dark clouds as well. Therefore as the Monty Python song  Always look on the bright side of life¯ and we should not forget those and focus on the positive aspect of what the crisis gives us. As the good old SWOT ANALYSIS rightly points out that there are not only threats, but also opportunities. I Its just that we need to take right steps at the right time to turn the crisis into an opportunity.

As PM Modi in recent address exclaimed that the pandemic will be a turning point for a country. The countrymen should resolve to turn disaster into an opportunity as it is said that ' Every crisis is an opportunity and it is imperative that we turn the challenges of an uncertain present into foundations for better tomorrow.

Opportunities for Environment
Since the outbreak of coronavirus the major step taken by the government is the imposition of lockdown so as to curb the spread of the virus, everyone is locked up in their houses and economy is at doldrums with no industries running, no activity taking place but this whole situation brings myriad of positive news and the opportunities from the environmental and economic perspective.[2]

There's a clear water in canals of Venice, blue skies over Delhi and wild animals are roaming boldly in the locked down cities. The oil industries and airlines are floundering in this new world and carbon emissions are falling apart. Thus it is remarked that the question about COVID-19 pandemic being godsend for human beings or not cannot be answered but it would seem to be one for the environment as environment is healing itself and at many places revival has been witnessed.[3]

With everything at standstill, there is an opportunity for trees to thrive and grow without any human interference the boon for environment as they provide habitats for numerous species of fauna and flora and are of invaluable importance to our environment and to human well being.With no more fishing and with no boats and vessels plying on the rivers and waterways this has led to prosperity of marine life, even sea turtles have been spotted returning to areas that they avoided. Thus this lockdown has been opportunity for the revival as well as lead to prosperity of wildlife as well as vegetation.

The most drastic results can be seen in the dropping levels of air pollution as there was a marked decline in the levels of nitrous oxide emissions. Before start of pandemic, the air around us had been deemed to be very toxic and due to greenhouse effect the earth has been facing many challenges like melting of icebergs, acid rain that lead to grave consequences for earth. But after two weeks of lockdown UK witnessed the decline of almost 60 percent of Nitrous oxide emissions as compared to the same period in 2019. The metropolitan areas of India have also shown decline in the levels of air pollution [4]

Another instance which depicts cleaner air was witnessed when on April 3rd, residents of Jalandhar, a city in Punjab, woke up to a view of the Dhauladhar mountain range, a rare feat in normal times, considering the distance being mainly 213 kilometres and this have not been witnessed from the city in the recent memory [5]

Opportunities for Clean India
With this pandemic India should also pay heed towards importance of basic hygiene facilities for everyone. As the pandemic has made us realize that their ability to defend themselves against virus is not determined by their own hygiene practices rather it's contingent on every individual having access to and minimum basic standard of hygiene. The political agenda should also include access to water, sanitation as well as soap and water for all.

People should learn the importance of hygiene from this pandemic and refrain from spitting, littering and even peeing anywhere. They should abide by elementary laws if cleanliness. This will not only ensure health benefits but will also help India to be not known as filthy country and cleaner India will cater to the needs of both flora and fauna. Even pollution through waste could be minimized. This will also generate additional GDP growth either through prospering of tourism ir through better health of people.

Moreover the coming period post pandemic will be characterized by the need to cut waste and follow extremely lean business operations. Budget pressure will further expedite the emergence of zero-waste operations which will not only help in management of the budget but will also ensure reduced pressure on the environment through the better disposal of the waste products and the decline in dumping which results in pollution will be seen.

Thus this is an opportunity for all people to realize the importance of environment and as due to restricted movement outdoors and vehicles being retreated to garage, the nature is healing and recovering itself. The fact is that the shutdown of economy is good for nature at least in the short term but it brings with itself an opportunity to keep parts of this in place even after the crisis to make long term improvements.

The current adversities shows us the path to reconsider our lives and reorganize it in a way that has less impact on our planet. As COVID-19 has powerfully demonstrated the value of nature for well-being :of lost forests and captured wildlife, this pandemic provides us with the time to ponder that this is the moment to act and opt for a path of sustainable development and this is the favorable time to pay heed towards environment, the place where we all thrive.

Along with environmental benefits there are myriad of economic opportunities that awaits for India in the post COVID-19 world and India could emerge as a great economy it plays its cards well right now.

Opportunities to emerge as Global power
In the post pandemic world India could establish itself as 'Granary of the world ' meeting essential needs at premium prices. As Mahatma Gandhi has once said,¯ India lives in its village  and 'Agriculture is the soul of Indian economy ' thus this could be the right time to be back to basics and return even stronger. The right direction and knowledge could help in channelizing the productive use and India could well be on the map of strongest economy in the world once the COVID-19 eclipse begin to wane.

As the world's leading economies be it America, Japan or several other European nations have been struggling to contain and cope up with the pandemic and it will take them a long period to recuperate and to cater their needs themselves and here India could step in and prove its mettle. As India is already one of the largest producer of milk providing for 19 % of the world production, the second largest fruit and sugar producer, third largest farm and agricultural producer and is the sixth largest food and grocery market ( as per Ministry of Agricultural report ).

Thus India can covert the time of adversities into favorable one by feeding hungry mouths across nations. Taking benefit of the opportunity India could increase its exports of wheat, rice and dairy products as well. This initiative will help the agrarian families and will boost India 's growth as well.[6]

Another approach for India is to emerge as manufacturing hub of the world according to the study of SBI. As already due to China's mishandling and opaqueness of virus has reinforced the skeptical perception of the country that prevails in most of the nations across the world and they have lost their trust in China. Many countries have already withdrawn from China and are in search of other options for the establishment.

Here India could grab this opportunity and welcome industries from all over the world to setup business which will provide employment as well as help in the growth of the country. India could become their destination of choice provided we offer conducive environment with better logistics, simplified land and labor laws which can enable India to develop robust manufacturing ecosystem thus filling up the space vacated by China.

This will attract foreign investment, latest technology, create jobs and will boost our exports. Thus there is a huge scope to not only become self-reliant but also capture a decent supply of global chain. Uttar Pradesh government has already offered incentives so as to attract manufacturers who are looking to shift base from China and this would yield huge gains in the long run. According to recent news Apple has already started its manufacturing flagship at Chennai plant, this shows that India is moving towards right direction.[7]

This pandemic can be seen as an opportunity to achieve self reliance and to focus on 'Make in India', PM Modi has been asking citizens to promote AatamNirbhar Bharat and to help prosper local manufacturers and artisans so that India can cater to its needs itself and reduce its dependence in imports.

He is of the view that India will fight Coronavirus and win the war against it and pandemic will help in layong foundations for self-reliant India. The initiative #vocalforlocal has been launched so as to promote locally produced goods. Some examples can be witnessed as before pandemic India did not produce N-95 masks and PPE KITS but today India manufactures two lakh masks as well as kits in a day to meet the demands. [8]

Opportunity in pharmaceutical sector
India can also emerge as one of the competitor in the pharmaceutical industry. India has already shipped 50 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine to United states and other nations it was seen as the possible treatment to the virus. India may become the world's factory for a coronavirus vaccine as The Serum Institute (SII), Pune, one of the world's largest manufacturer of vaccine, has partnered with Oxford University's vaccine development initiative and if trials are successful, Serum is set to produce millions of doses by year-end and this would establish India as one of the biggest manufacturer of vaccine in the world And India should overhaul its healthcare by investing in indigenous manufacturing capabilities and making the country a leader in R&D as well as innovation.[9]

Even former -RBI governor and well known economist Raghuram Rajan see the positive side if the virus. On being asked by Mr Rahul Gandhi that,  if there will be any strategic changes after the pandemic which India could use to its advantage.¯ MrRajan replied that,¯if there is an opportunity for India it is in shaping the dialogue in more of a leader because it is not one of the two warring parties. It is, however a big enough country to have its voice heard in global economy.

He also added that India can find its opportunities for its supply chains and industries and can try and mould the dialogue towards one which has a great plan for multi polar global order. Thus India should focus to develop more robust supply chains that are more likely to function even in the face of asymmetric disruptions such as coronavirus.

The pandemic will help India to rethink everything in the global economy and establish India as the world leader which will not only help India to build foreign relations and make its voice heard but will also lead to surge in exports because of development of supply chains and industries. This will help in influx of investments as well as growth of GDP.[10]

Conclusion
The most imperative resource this pandemic has given us is the TIME and that too in this millennial era when everyone is always in hurry and engrossed in their own world and have no time for each other. But its seen that people have time for each other and for themselves and this will aid people to reconsider and evaluate the situation and to take more risks, focus on what really matters and embrace the opportunities.

The crisis will no doubt bring hardships and difficulties along with it but one should believe that there's light aplenty at the end if this tunnel and we should create opportunities and innovations while surviving through this adversity. The major world upheavals in the past have always brought societies together to combat the circumstances and to emerge as better species.

During this pandemic also feeling of solidarity and collective responsibility among the citizens can be witnessed.Every crisis brings with it an opportunity that lead to foundations for better tomorrow, be it world war 2 that created financial superpower or the financial crisis of 2008 that resulted into stringent regulations and more resilient financial systems. Even the AIDS and Ebola epidemics galvanized incredible progress in medical science and biotechnology and helped to innovate and research more in this sector.

No matter how bad the fall, human have risen stronger and have ameliorated the situations. Thus this COVID-19 pandemic will provide us with lasting lessons and opportunities for positive change.[11]

End-Notes:
  1. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/jeroenkraaijenbrink/2020/03/23/the-bright-side-of-corona-seven-opportunities-of-the-current-pandemic/amp/
    The Bright side of COVID-19
  2. India will turn Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity, says PM Modi - India Newshttps://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.indiatoday.in/amp/india/story/pm-modi-coronavirus-crisis-opportunity-coal-mine-auction-1690230-2020-06-18&ved=2ahUKEwjNsLb25e3qAhXqzzgGHeyjAHEQFjABegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw0Wgl2rlN4TzsV5UICd3836&ampcf=1
  3. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200422-how-has-coronavirus-helped-the-environment Has Coronavirus helped the environment?
  4. How are coronavirus lockdowns changing the environment? | World Economic...https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-lockdowns-air-pollution
  5. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-lockdown-as-air-quality-gets-cleaner-himachals-dhauladhar-mountain-becomes-visible-from-jalandhar-6345469/#:~:text=The%20Dhauladhar%20range%2C%20which%20is,rises%20from%20Kangra%20and%20Mandi.
  6. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbctv18.com/views/covid-19-turning-economic-crisis-into-an-opportunity-5701751.htm/amp COVID-19: Turning economic crisis into an opportunity
  7. https://www.livemint.com/opinion/online-views/opinion-how-india-s-economy-can-gain-from-opportunities-thrown-up-after-covid-11590915904118.html Opinion| How India's economy can gain from oppurtunities thrown up after covid
  8. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/pm-modi-coronavirus-crisis-opportunity-coal-mine-auction-1690230-2020-06-18
    India will turn COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity, says PM Modi
  9. https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.economictimes.com/news/economy/policy/view-opportunities-india-should-leverage-to-make-it-a-global-post-covid-model-economy/amp_articleshow/75953919.cms
    View: Opportunities India should leverage to make it global post -COVID model economy
  10. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.indiatoday.in/amp/india/story/will-there-be-strategic-benefits-for-india-post-covid-19-ex-rbi-chief-raghuram-rajan-s-answers-1672700-2020-04-30
    Will there be strategic benefits for India post COVID-19 ? Ex-RBI chief RaghuramRajan answers
  11. https://www.forbesindia.com/blog/coronavirus/opportunities-emerging-from-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
    Opportunities emerging from the coronavirus pandemic

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