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Amitabh Kant-led empowered group set to discuss COVID-hit sectors with India Inc.

Sectors that would be the focus of discussion are hospitality, textile and real estate. Measures to boost the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), one of the worst affected sectors, would also be discussed

Nirbhay Kumar | September 22, 2020 | Updated 04:41 IST
Amitabh Kant led empowered group set to discuss COVID hit sectors with India Inc
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amitabh Kant-led empowered group to meet industry executives of private sector on Tuesday to assess recovery in various pandemic-hit sectors and discuss measures to strengthen them.
  • The high-level meeting is being seen as ongoing exercise to take inputs from industry for Stimulus 2.0.
  • Sectors likely to be the focus of discussion are hospitality, textile and real estate.
  • Measures to boost MSMEs, one of the worst affected sectors, also on agenda
  • Many economists and public policy experts have pitched for another round of fiscal stimulus worth at least 2% of GDP to put economy on growth path and protect jobs

Amid demand for second round of stimulus, the empowered group headed by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant would meet industry executives of private sector on Tuesday to discuss measures to boost pandemic-hit sectors.

The high-level meeting is being seen as ongoing exercise to take inputs from industry for stimulus 2.0.

NITI Aayog CEO is coordinating with private sector, NGOs and international organisations for COVID related responses. There are five other empowered groups tasked with suggesting responses such as economic measures, medical infrastructure, availability of essential items, public awareness, and supply chain and logistics management.

Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj heads the group on economic and welfare measures.

"We will detail the stress faced by various sectors. We hope government comes up with measures to address the concerns of the industry sooner than later," said an industry executive associated with a leading industry body.

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) are among the industry bodies invited to give their inputs.

"The empowered group wants to know how various sectors have responded so far to the economic measures announced earlier and what steps need to be taken to revive them," he added.

Some of the sectors that would be the focus of discussion are hospitality, textile and real estate. Measures to boost the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), one of the worst affected sectors, would also be discussed.

Many economists and public policy experts have pitched for another round of fiscal stimulus worth at least 2 per cent of GDP to put economy on growth path and protect jobs. While government has indicated that it will announce fresh set of measures once coronavirus pandemic stabilises in the country or shows signs of abatement, some economists have argued for stimulus given the current state of economy.

The GDP fell 23.9 per cent in April-June quarter, recording worst performance in many decades. Research and rating agencies have predicted negative growth and revised their previous projection further downward. Global research firm Goldman Sachs expects real GDP growth to contract 14.8 per cent in FY21 against its earlier estimate of 11.8 per cent contraction in this period.

Suvodeep Rakshit, Vice President and Senior Economist at Kotak Institutional Equities, said government should be focussing on reforms and capital expenditure to help the economy rebound.

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ALSO READ: India's GDP to shrink by 8.6% in FY21, urgent need of fiscal stimulus, says UBS

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