Owing to the far-reaching implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments all over the world will find themselves taking on an enhanced, interventionist role in order to manage the fallout as much as possible. The government of Punjab is cognisant of this reality as it attempts to anticipate and prepare for a wide range of challenges headed its way.

The information contained in the government document titled Responsive Investment for Social Protection and Economic Stimulus (RISE) Punjab states in no uncertain terms that the Punjab province must gear up for economic shocks that will continue to reverberate across the province in the coming months or even years. While some sectors have suffered more than others, there is hardly any section of the economy that has not been impacted.

The six-point policy as outlined in the RISE document is encouraging as it shows that the provincial government is determined to take a multi-pronged, proactive approach to cushion the blow from the pandemic. That being said, it is always quite challenging to successfully implement well-worded policy documents at such a massive scale. With rising unemployment, businesses going under due to global trends and disturbed supply chains, healthcare issues, low tax revenues and many other problems, the government certainly has its work cut out for it. Previous experiences show that the bureaucracy alone cannot be expected to devise and implement solutions. In the coming days, communication and coordination between the private sector and government departments will play a crucial role to manage both macro and micro interventions. As the private sector employs 90% of the people, no amount of government projects and schemes will be able to sufficiently compensate for losses in the private sector. Honest political oversight and an open feedback mechanism will go a long way in accomplishing set objectives of stimulating growth and supporting businesses small and big.