A greater investment in social capital catalyzes and empowers local community members to feel a part of the governance process and strengthens the state-citizen contract, says the author.
Deepanshu Mohan, Associate Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for New Economics Studies (CNES), Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
With millions of workers desperately returning to their native hometowns and villages, after being stripped of their dignity and means of livelihood, the pandemic has not only made many states—with massive migrating populations—to receive a large influx of these workers, it has also given them an opportunity to reprioritize their socio-economic outlook.
Economic geography, as a sub-field in economics, often receives a lot of policy-attention in international trade, allowing nations to maximize their economic potential and production in certain commodities and services where they have a comparative advantage for gains in trade. In a pre-covid world, urbanization, as a process, was seen concentrated in economic centers, projected as hotspots for attracting capital and becoming destinations for exports. This generated employment, attracting millions to migrate to these places from far-away rural corners.
It seems there is now a pressing need to revisit this dynamic of an urban-biased economic geography to bring the focus back on developing more proximate economic hotspots within states, where states invest in building their own comparative advantages, creating more opportunities for local populations. This is critical at a time when supply-chains of commodities, and even labour movements, are likely to disengage from far metropolises, and move much closer for production-distribution-consumption needs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent address too, emphasized this aspect, pushing for becoming more “Vocal for Local”.
Published in: Mint
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