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Biz mood turns bullish as Covid vaccine launch date nears

Business sentiments have already started showing a marked improvement as India gears up to start its Covid 19 vaccine drive early next month. While queries from both foreign as well as domestic investors have started pouring in with expectations of an early roll out of the much-awaited vaccine, several companies have already utilised the lockdown and post lockdown period to reset businesses to be ready as they expect a surge in consumer demand and business to pick up once the vaccine is rolled out in the market.

“We expect a huge manufacturing boom in the post Covid period, companies have already started making their plans. We are looking at the Union Budget and we expect big bang announcements. Post that expect to hear many big investment plans,” a senior executive at a Gurgaon-based multinational company said.

Several companies are already looking at diversifying their supply sources and moving their manufacturing facilities out of China. With its early Covid 19 vaccine, India could stand to gain.

The vaccine drive will also open up business travel, again something that many foreign investors are looking at. Sources said that merger and acquisition activities will also pick up.

“The vaccine drive is expected to commence soon and this will provide the much required boost to sentiments. Economic activities have started picking up but once the vaccine is out, demand will increase significantly, which will push growth,” Gopal Krishna Agarwal, BJP’s spokesperson on economic affairs told IndiaNarrative.com.

India, which is expected to start the vaccine drive by early next month, will be among the first countries to be doing so, only after a handful countries including the US, UK and a few European nations.
About 30 crore Indians are expected to be inoculated in the first phase of the vaccine drive.

In his last Mann ki Baat of the year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the need for Indian manufacturing sector to intensify the ‘vocal for local’ mantra while amplifying the Atmanirbhar scheme.

Assocham secretary general Deepak Sood said that economic growth will be back in the new year, with expectations of the vaccine launch.

“The news of vaccine launch has come as a sentiment booster though India has managed to contain the spread of the virus effectively. The coming year 2021 will be a growth year and we are ready for that,” Sood said.

<strong>Companies already laying a post Covid phase growth roadmap</strong>

Sources said that companies are laying the road for a post Covid phase. Sample this. The Tata Group, which has plans to set up a phone component manufacturing facility, has firmed up plans to invest Rs 5,000-7,000 crore. The greenfield project is likely to come up in Hosur in Tamil Nadu. Earlier, Reliance Industries said it would buy Future Group’s retail business which includes the apparel, lifestyle and grocery segments.

Meanwhile, private investments in the country have remained sluggish for years now, even as India is placed at the 63rd position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. Deepak Bagla, CEO and managing director of Invest India pointed out that the preparedness of the states is critical to woo investors. “States are now doing their bit to draw investments, they are in a healthy competition and the reform process will go a long way in further improving business sentiments in the post Covid 19 phase,” Bagla said.

The Centre has introduced three critical labour legislations– the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020, Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020. These will enable the states in fixing hiring and firing norms besides providing more social security to the workers. The states will also be able to fix working hours in the factories and other establishments and restrict the workers from forming unions. The government’s Production Linked Investment (PLI) scheme, aimed at making the manufacturing sector globally competitive and efficient, has also been received well by investors..