• Wednesday, May 29, 2024


India plans Covid-19 stimulus package to revive economic growth: report

Indian Navy sailors walk past an entrance of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) headquarters in Mumbai on May 5, 2021. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIA is preparing an economic stimulus package for the sectors worst affected by Covid-19, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday (25), citing people familiar with the matter.

The finance ministry is working on proposals to bolster the tourism, aviation and hospitality industries, along with small and medium-sized companies, reports said.

The discussions were at an early stage and no timeline for an announcement was decided, it added

The latest wave of Covid-19 infections has made India the global hotspot for the pandemic and has decimated travel since the second wave picked up in March.

On Tuesday, the country posted 196,427 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, its lowest daily rise in infections since April 14, and less than half the 414,188 peak reported on May 7. India’s overall officially recorded case load since the start of the pandemic now stands at 26.95 million.

Now, many local governments — including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, India’s most industrialised states — have imposed curbs against the spread of the virus.

Many economists cut their forecasts for the financial year that began April 1, as rising unemployment and dwindling savings among consumers dim the chances for double-digit growth.

While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects India’s economy to expand 12.5 per cent this year to March — and will be revisiting the forecast in July — the country’s central bank projects 10.5 per cent growth.

Last month, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that she is monitoring the economy in a “very detailed fashion,” and has held discussions with economists in recent days about a stimulus package, reports said.

In April, the finance ministry eased rules for capital expenditure by government departments to try to boost spending in the economy. Pressure also is building on the central bank to ease loan repayment rules, especially for sectors badly hit by this virus wave, reported The Times of India.

The pandemic has killed at least 3,475,079 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data.

The US is the worst-affected country with 590,574 deaths, followed by Brazil with 449,858, India with 307,231, Mexico with 221,695 and Britain with 127,724.

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