PRADEEP RANA | NEW DELHI A group of experts comprising current and former civil servants, economists, business leaders, data scientists, epidemiologists, and researchers across domains have predicted the devastation left in the wake of contagion Coronavirus will push back Indian economy anywhere from two to three years. Some 150 plus experts represented by Sapio Umbrela in a white paper submitted to Government and NITI Aayog have arrived at conclusion that all the three scenarios created by Coronavirus or Covid-19 converge at the finding the the Indian economy will backslide by two to three years across sectors. The paper talks about the critical situation and offers solutions on how to turn this into an opportunity for the country. “We have taken into account 3 possible scenarios and forecasted how the GDP would change across all scenarios and across economic divisions.”, says Sanjeeva Shivesh, a former civil servant, serial entrepreneur and angel investor, who led the team responsible for the white paper. Public administration and agriculture are the sectors expected to pull back the economy from precipice. All other sectors are showing clear signs of recession in the financial year, as per the report. Speaking to mediapersons after submission of the white paper, Shivesh said, “It’s imperative that the government plans the financial stimulus in a structured manner, spreading it across various sectors, and ensuring it gets distributed at different times of the year. The financial package of Rs 14.88 lakh crores is required, out of which the trade, hotels, transport and communication category needs the highest stimulus of Rs 4.26 lac crores.” The paper also provides recommendations on financial packages needed across sectors. The effective job loss is pegged at 30 million according to the paper. It also talks about role of new age technologies in helping India convert this challenge into an opportunity. The economic impact of this crisis is playing out in the form of national lockdowns, movement of people limited mostly for emergency response, social distancing as a new societal normal, with fear and uncertainty gripping the markets. At this juncture, very few are willing to make an estimate of losses due to coronavirus, more so because, no one knows for sure, until how long would these lockdowns continue and how would the society adjust to new pace of work, the paper says. On one hand, you have to grapple with pandemic response with emergency speed, on the other, lockdown imposes serious questions around continuity of economy, loss of income for poor people, defaults on loans, lower taxes for government and so on, the paper says. These questions threaten to become round two of the crisis, unless a planned and concerted effort is made to mitigate the looming crisis, it adds.