India, which registered an 8.4 per cent GDP growth during the July to September quarter, has become the fastest growing major economy. In the corresponding period in the previous financial year, India’s economy had contracted by 7.4 per cent owing to various Covid 19 related restrictions and lockdowns. Aided by expanded government spending and a good monsoon, India’s policymakers expect the growth momentum to continue despite fears emerging after the new Omicron variant of Covid 19.
Though the emergence of the new of the virus has pushed several countries to close their borders, Indian policymakers and representatives of the business community said that there was no immediate threat to the economy.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, whose biggest challenge now is to ensure that the new variant does not spread in the country, told Parliament that there were no cases of Omicron in India so far.
Sources said that India may however have to delay its plans to resume operation of international flights.
In an interview to PTI, eminent virologist Shahid Jameel said there is no need to panic and that a large number of Indians are likely to remain protected from the new strain.
“We have to understand that there could be many different variants of the virus in the near future, we need to learn to deal with this but at the same we need to be incredibly cautious in the view of the fact that there are plans to open up international flights,” Nirupama Soudararajan, Chief Executive Officer, Pahle India Foundation told India Narrative. Soudararajan added that Indian policymakers need to wait and watch before deciding to open up the borders and resume operation of international flights.
Until now more than 122 crore Indians have been administered the Covid 19 vaccine. About 32 per cent of the total population are now fully vaccinated.
“Several countries have already started their booster doses and considering India’s vaccination drive began in March, many would be eligible for booster doses,” Soudararajan however said.
However medical experts said that with the slowdown in India’s fresh Covid cases despite the festive season, is encouraging and that there is no need to spread panic over the new variant.
In the first quarter –April to June – India posted a growth of India’s of 20.1 per cent despite Covid induced lockdowns imposed in several states.