While the world economy has taken a beating after the outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19, minister of state for finance Anurag Singh Thakur on Tuesday said that latest data “do not suggest any adverse impact on the economy” on account of the disease.
“Additionally, a positive impact on India’s economy may arise from decline in global oil prices triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19,” Thakur said in reply to a query raised by Rajya Sabha member Vaiko.
The minister said that the outbreak of coronavirus has emerged as a key risk to human health as well as the global growth outlook through numerous channels like trade, production and supply chain disruptions, decline in demand, lower tourism and business travel, loss of investors’ confidence, and productivity losses from the morbidity and mortality of the work force.
“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been coordinating the efforts of the central government in terms of preparedness, control and containment measures and has also been working with state governments in order to mitigate the impact of the virus outbreak in India,” he said.
The minister added that India’s near-term macroeconomic outlook is also vulnerable to disruption of trade with China and second-round effects arising from the expected slowdown in global growth.
“However, the latest available data on trade and indicators of domestic output do not suggest any adverse impact on the economy,” he said.
In order to address the possibility of trade-induced adverse impact on the economy, the minister said that the government is constantly engaging with Export Promotion Councils and trade bodies, particularly in the pharmaceutical, electronics and automobile sectors where the supply chains are sourcing imports from China.
“These agencies have been put in touch with Indian Missions abroad to secure and transport inventories available with the existing suppliers,” the minister said.
He stated that Indian missions abroad have also been asked to explore alternate sources of supply of raw materials in their respective countries for supporting India’s domestic production.
With regard to domestic availability of fertilizers, the impact of COVID-19 seems to be negligible at this juncture, the minister said.
He said that a Group of Ministers is constantly reviewing the current status, and action for prevention and management of COVID-19 and two meetings of the same were held on March 11. (IANS).