Gross Domestic Product (GDP), GDP growth and per capita GDP are not the main determinants of sustainable overall development, although these indicators are given great importance in assessing the economic development of a country.
In addition to GDP, the overall development of any country should be measured through several indicators such as affordability, inequality, deprivation, and the well-being of its citizens. Without complete information on these metrics, there is no scope to say that the economy of Bangladesh is ahead of India based on $11 annual per capita income.
And there is absolutely no room for self-satisfaction in the face of so many problems in the macro-economy. I would say that India is far ahead in terms of size and diversity of economy.
The size of Bangladesh's economy is very small compared to India's. The economy of Bangladesh is also less diverse. In this context, the economies of the two countries cannot be compared.
Even if we wish to compare the economies of the two neighbouring countries, the average per capita income cannot be an acceptable indicator. In order to calculate the average income, earning of a high-income person is combined with a worker's income. But the truth is that my income can no longer be equated with that of a rickshaw puller.
India's per capita GDP has dropped to less than Bangladesh's due to the negative impact of the Corona pandemic. The pandemic has also influenced the latter's economy. However, thanks to the government's social security programs, incentives for the industrial sector, uninterrupted remittances and survival efforts of the informal sector, Bangladesh is on the path to rapid recovery.
Although the severity of the Covid-19 outbreak has decreased in both countries, neither has become COVID-free. Apart from that, there is concern and anxiety in both countries about the second wave of the pandemic, which will inform the future course of both economies. However, it goes without saying that except for per capita national income, India is ahead in all indices.
Instead of indulging in self-congratulations, emphasis must be placed on the speedy implementation of different programmes previously announced by the government to revive the economy, including incentive packages. It is worth noting that although the distribution of incentive packages announced for cottage, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs was supposed to be completed by this month, not even 20 per cent has been distributed so far.
Small businesses will need a lot of money to turn around, no matter where they stand.
Many have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and need to find employment to maintain their purchasing power. Preparations must also be made to handle the impending second wave of the pandemic
I don't think the government has a single moment to waste.
Dr Sayema Haque Bidisha, Professor of Economics, University of Dhaka