WION Exclusive: Govt fully prepared to support economy post-lockdown, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman
In a WION exclusive, FM Nirmala Sitharaman today revealed that her ministry and the entire government along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi are fully ready to extend the required support that national economy needs post-COVID-19 pandemic.
In a WION exclusive, FM Nirmala Sitharaman today revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, her ministry and the entire government are fully ready to extend the required support that national economy needs post-COVID-19 pandemic enforced lockdown that has hit the economy hard. In her reaction to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers revealed today, FM Sitharaman said that GDP for the last quarter standing at 3.1 per cent was due to the effects of Coronavirus pandemic that had started to have its impact from February, 2020 itself.
Sitharaman said, "One of the major reasons for January to March 2020 quarter witnessing a 3.1 per cent GDP growth was due to the Coronavirus impact - the impact started from February 2020 when the global economy was getting squeezed due to lockdown even in strong economies."
FM explained that before the Covid-19 pandemic hit India in February, green shoots in economy were seen. FM said, "This is a quarter where we thought we had started seeing green shoots. That is one reason the Budget estimates were made the way they were made. So the 3.1 per cent - given the fact that by February we had started having some kind of impact of the pandemic - therefore, gives me the feeling that revival was happening. But unfortunately, the God's hand... (hit us)."
Asked about the core sector contraction by 38 per cent in April 2020, FM Sitharaman told WION, "Core sector contracting up to 38 per cent in April was due to the Coronavirus spread when the whole nation was under lockdown. The contraction happened because by this time the coronavirus pandemic had hit us really fully and badly."
However, she said that slowly but steadily the lockdown is getting eased and the economy is getting opened.
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FM said she and her ministry are well aware of the kind of support the national economy and various sectors will need post-lockdown. She also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lent his full support to get the whole nation out of the massive COVID-19 created economic slowdown.
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Many economists are now forecasting worse GDP growth estimates going forward. However, FM Sitharaman said that she would not want to make any estimates as yet.
FM explained, "I have said (before) I shall not make any estimates. I am watching and hearing the agencies telling us to what extent the contraction is going to hit India. So, it is my duty to be prepared for the situation. And be ready to support. With the full support of the prime minister, we want to ensure that everybody gets it," she said.
She also pointed out that in September, October and November 2019, bank loans were getting pushed and that's why Budget 2020 had special focus on the bank liquidity to Indian industries. She said that the budget proposals would have started to show their impact in the current quarter had the Coronavirus pandemic not hit us.
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