It is important, firstly, to explicitly layout the intellectual framework of India's response to both the health and economic challenges caused by the pandemic.
The central problem in both cases related to making major decisions under conditions of extreme uncertainty and paucity of information; what can be dubbed "the fog of war".
The World Health Organization, however, was far from clear in its recommendation and changed its stance repeatedly.
Epidemic experts consulted by governments around the world provided wide-ranging assessments.
Some advocated herd immunity, while others predicted millions of deaths unless something drastic was done.
Whatever strategy was adapted was a one-way street and would have to be held to the end. It was also recognised that it was probably a marathon rather than a sprint.
Given these constraints, the Central Government opted for what is known in financial markets as a "barbell" strategy - i.e. hedge first for the worst-possible outcome while progressing step-by-step with a Bayesian updating of information.
The initial total lockdown, therefore, should be seen as a hedge against the worst possible outcomes.
It was bolstered by advice from some experts who argued that a strong initial lockdown could stall the epidemic at an early stage (this was not an unreasonable idea given the available information)
It should be noted that this initial lockdown also gave the space to arrange a large-scale medical response in terms of equipment, quarantine and testing capacity.
As time has passed, the central government then unlocked the economy step-by-step as information as well as medical capacity both improved.
Lockdowns and other responses were increasingly left to local governments.
Meanwhile, better information meant that it was possible to make sensible tradeoffs between health and economic needs.
This explains why the government was later willing to keep opening up despite there being any Covid-19 infected people whereas it had done an Initial lockdown when there were very few patients.
The same barbell strategy was used in the economic response.
The Indian economic response during the lockdown phase was oriented more towards providing a cushion to the most vulnerable segments of society and of the business sector (such as medium and small enterprises).
This explains the emphasis on food availability, cash transfers to Jan Dhan accounts, government guarantees on loans to small enterprises, moratoria and postponement of financial deadlines.
Every effort was made to avert a cascade of defaults in the banking system.
Unlike many other countries that front-loaded large stimulus packages, Indian policy-makers decided that trying to pump demand during a lockdown was like pressing the accelerator when the foot was firmly on the brake.
It was better to save the ammunition for later as the cycle of demand simply would not take-off in a lockdown.
Instead, the time was used to put in place long-term structural reforms in anticipation of the post-Covid world.
Both monetary and fiscal space exists for this push despite the widening of the fiscal deficit.
Demand-driven inflation is not a major issue as almost all price increases are due to supply disruptions.
Every financing avenue will be explored including foreign and domestic capital, asset monetisation and even deficit monetisation.