Indian stocks crashed on Monday, suffering their worst single-day loss on record, as domestic and foreign investors were absolutely terrified that a nationwide lockdown triggered by a COVID-19 outbreak could crash the economy.
The NIFTY 50 is the flagship index on the National Stock Exchange of India, plummeted 12.98% to a near four-year low of 7,610.25 on Monday.
The Indian rupee hit a record low of over 76 against the dollar and puts pressure on the Narendra Modi government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ramp up emergency response efforts to protect a crashing currency and economy.
Modi’s “Make-in-India” program, an attempt to revive the economy and diversify its manufacturing sector away from automobiles to bolster its aerospace and defense sectors, has miserably failed.
The economy has come to a screeching halt as residents in 75 districts across the country, including in major cities, such as the capital New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore have been forced into mandatory quarantine by the government until March 31.
India is the second-largest country in the world, and has reported only 467 cases and ten deaths.
The lack of test kits has made it virtually impossible for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to detect community spreading of the virus. As test kits come online, India could be staring at a pandemic.
Actions by the government already suggest the virus crisis is getting worse. In the last day, India launched the world’s most extensive social distancing lockdown of 1.3 billion people to flatten the pandemic curve to slow down the infection rate.