India is facing an unprecedented challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the epicentre of this crisis is in the health sector, it has grown into a serious, multi-dimensional crisis with the marginalised sections of the country’s population being affected the most. The scale and nature of the crisis calls for timely and bold measures by the Union and State Governments, many of which would have significant fiscal (or budgetary) implications.
Several State Governments have introduced COVID response measures since the crisis unfolded; the Union Government launched the first such package of policy measures on March 26, 2020 and followed it up with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package of measures in mid-May, 2020. Besides these, a number of policy and institutional measures have been announced by the Union and State Governments on an ongoing basis, a practice that is likely to continue for several months
In this backdrop, CBGA’s engagement with India’s fiscal response to COVID-19 comprises four key areas of interventions:
1. Analysing the fiscal policy measures introduced by the Union and State Governments and developing policy positions on macro fiscal issues that Union and State Governments need to consider not just for 2020-21 but also for the next few years;
2. Policy advocacy on fiscal measures required in the States – focusing on select States for which CBGA has carried out in-depth policy and budget analyses; and, policy advocacy on domestic and international taxation issues – focusing on national, regional and global policymaking bodies;
3. Convening Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) – focusing on the budgetary response to the pandemic in different sectors or different States and those focusing on the implications for some of the most disadvantaged sections of the population – to facilitate exchange and learning among the various actors in our community of practice, and identify key issues for further analysis and advocacy; and
4.Opinion Pieces by CBGA team, published in reputed news portals as well as on CBGA website, to highlight some of the burning issues that require urgent attention of the policymakers.