By Neeraj Dhankher
A spate of astrological factors combined in late 2019 to unleash one of the gravest challenges faced by humanity in the form of the Covid pandemic. What began in December 2019 as a seemingly small viral infection in a remote location in China, slowly escalated into a major humanitarian crisis over the next few months, and by March 2020, it had spread like wildfire across the globe.
In astrological parlance, this phase coincided with an adverse solar eclipse that occurred in Sagittarius sign on December 26, 2019, which witnessed a rare conjunction of six planets in the same sign. Due to this planetary cocktail, three key planets – Ketu, (signifying virus and bacteria), Saturn (signifying mass epidemic and fear among public) and Jupiter (jeeva karaka or life force) were severely afflicted, which, in turn, sowed the seeds of coronavirus.
The spread of the deadly virus accelerated when Saturn left Sagittarius sign on January 24, 2020 and entered its own sign, Capricorn, a phenomenon called ‘Saturn’s homecoming’, symbolic of a new world order, witnessed once every 27 to 30 years. Soon after, on March 22, Mars, the executor-in-chief, also moved to Capricorn and joined Saturn. This was the day when the first semblance of lockdown in the form of ‘Junta Curfew’ was observed in India.
Another significant development happened on March 29, when Jupiter (life force) also moved to Capricorn, a sign where it is in its weakest point in the zodiac, which quickened the pace of infection rates across the country with mass-scale casualties to follow.
On May 4, Mars moved out of Capricorn sign and this was the time when the government announced relaxation in lockdown norms in a phased manner. Between May 10-15, both Saturn and Jupiter became retrograde (moving in reverse motion), and this was the time when the government announced the first stimulus-cum-relief package of Rs 20 trillion to revamp the economy.
India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) took a major beating during the April-June quarter as it shrunk by 23.9 per cent, the worst contraction in the history of the Indian economy, due to the nationwide lockdown during the bulk of the quarter. This entire quarter coincided with Jupiter’s weak position in Capricorn sign. On June 30, a retrograde Jupiter moved back to its own sign, Sagittarius, and gained strength. Jupiter stayed in this auspicious position till November 20, which was a period of economic recovery for the country as the GDP’s contraction reduced to 7.5 per cent in the July-September quarter.
On November 12, the Finance Minister announced a comprehensive stimulus package of Rs 2.65 lakh crore to boost the economy and incentivise job creation. During this time, Jupiter was still strongly placed in Sagittarius sign and was a few days away from moving to its weakest position in Capricorn. On November 20, after a gap of close to five months, Jupiter once again moved to Capricorn sign. Not surprisingly, just a few days later, on November 25 to be precise, there were farmer protests around New Delhi over passing of farm bills by the Indian Parliament.
Outlook for 2021
As we step into the New Year, Jupiter will be placed in its debilitation sign Capricorn till April 6 in conjunction with Saturn. Despite showing signs of economic revival towards end of 2020, India is likely to register low to moderate growth in the January-March quarter. Due to a weak Jupiter and strong Saturn, the contraction of the Indian economy is expected to continue and is likely to be around 8 per cent in FY21.
However, the economy is expected to bounce back strongly in the April-June 2021 quarter as Jupiter will move to Aquarius sign. India will emerge as the fastest growing Asian economy from here on. This will create additional demand which is expected to translate into strong economic growth. The recovery is expected to improve further during July-September quarter, and the GDP will grow faster than before.
However, from middle of September till November 20, there is expected to be a temporary blip in economic growth as Jupiter, once again, enters the ominous Capricorn sign. This will trigger unfavorable geo-political developments which will impact the Indian economy as well. On the whole, the GDP growth is likely to average between 8 to 9 per cent in 2021.
The Sensex is expected to set a new record high in 2021 as infection rates come down due to positive medical interventions, followed by favorable government policies to strengthen the economy. Between January 30 to February 21, the Sensex is expected to breach the 50,000-level mark, and will go even higher around middle of June when both Jupiter and Mercury will be in retrograde motion.
However, it is expected to come down between September 14 to October 17, after which, it will climb up again. In addition, the period from June 2 to July 21 and October 22 to December 5 are sensitive periods which can create volatility in the stock market. By the end of 2021, the Sensex is expected to cross the 60,000-mark as both Saturn and Jupiter gain strength.
The year 2021 is also expected to be a watershed period as far as India’s economic reforms are concerned. With reference to India’s horoscope, the planetary period of Moon-Saturn will be operative till July 10, 2020. Thereafter, the period of Moon-Mercury will be in vogue during the rest of the year.
In India’s birth chart, Mercury is the owner of 2nd house (banking, treasury) and 5th House (Stock, investments, decision making) and is placed in the third house (telecommunication, neighbour and deals). This is indicative of an important banking reform and changes in the fiscal policy during July-August. A new tax regime is likely to be implemented during the year. SEBI is also likely to bring about new regulations to regulate trading entities and processes. A financial stimulus package is expected to be announced by the government around June 20.
During 2021, sectors such as real estate, media and online entertainment broadcasting platforms like OTT, railways, airline industry, auto, transport, telecommunications, IT and banking are likely to see some important developments in the form of new regulations and policies. Here is the astrological outlook for some
Energy: Strong focus on infrastructure development is likely to spur demand for fuels such as oil and gas, especially from April 2021. The government is expected to come out with a new policy between June-July on regulating production of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, coal, CBM and other minerals.
A majority stake sale in state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Saudi Aramco’s planned purchase of a stake in Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and the expected completion of impending refinery expansion projects are likely to be finalised between April-July. In addition, initiatives will be taken towards expanding non-conventional power generation sources such as solar and wind.
Globally, the oil sector is expected to witness turmoil between January 15 to February 15 owing to geo-political developments. The oil sector will further witness volatility between June 2 to July 21 and again from October 22 to December 5.
Real estate: A strong sub-period of Saturn operative in India’s horoscope till first week of July augurs well for the growth of the real estate sector. The construction industry is likely to see faster growth as delayed infrastructure and real estate projects are likely to be completed. With strong Mercury in India’s chart, the demand for commercial real estate segment is likely to shoot up during July-August. So will be the demand for ancillary industries like steel and cement.
Retail and FMCG: Demand for consumer durables is expected to pick up from April, which will drive growth of the retail and FMCG industry. The industry is expected to witness a double-digit growth, and will contribute handsomely to the country’s economic recovery during the April-September period.
Telecommunications: This sector is expected to see remarkable growth in 2021. The spectrum auction by the government is likely to be completed during April-May. There will be significant network capacity addition and new players are likely to enter this arena in 2021. The country may witness rollout of 5G technology services during September-October.
Disinvestment: The government’s plans to increase private participation in Air India and Indian Railways are expected to gather steam in 2021. Important developments are likely to take place in this regard between May 30 to June 23 and from September 27 to October 18. This will be the time that the government is likely to receive active support of private players in view of favourable market conditions.
Job market: Till March, the job market scenario is likely to be conservative and the economy may not be able to support large-scale employment. From April, the Indian job market will pick up and grow exponentially between April to September. With Mercury (technology and learning) operative in India’s chart from July, technology and digitisation will be largely employed by companies for learning and skill development. New innovative HR policies are likely to be institutionalised by corporates between February-March, which will spell out new norms for recruitment and performance.
The future of Covid
The fight against Covid-19 is likely to continue for a few more months. From January 14 to March 31, there will be significant medical intervention due to which the infection rate will start coming down at a fast pace. Between April-July 2021, significant strides will be taken towards diffusing the effects of this deadly virus, not just in India, but across the world.
Geo-politics and its impact on India
Developments in USA, China and Middle East have a huge bearing on India’s growth. With Mercury dasha running in India’s horoscope from July, the country will emerge as an important player on the global platform. A new trade regime is expected to be implemented under India’s leadership under the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2021, a Solar Eclipse will occur on June 10.
Simultaneously, Saturn will be placed in Capricorn and Mars in Cancer sign and will mutually aspect each other between June 2 to July 21. This will be the period when the world will witness important political and military developments which will impact India’s trade equilibrium with various countries. This will also be the time when India is likely to face politico-military deadlock with Pakistan or China, as well as internal strife, which can snowball into a major crisis.
On the whole, 2021 will create new opportunities and bless us all with good luck and prosperity. A new set of challenges will also emerge and the lessons learnt in 2020 will go a long way in addressing the issues collectively.
(Neeraj Dhankher is an astrologer with proficiency in Vedic, KP and Nadi Astrology. He is the Founder and CEO of Astro Zindagi. The observations are made by the writer based on his own analysis.)